Tag Archives: popular culture

New Deadpool Cartoon Announced (And Why It Matters)

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In addition to being an aspiring erotica/romance writer, I have a fairly diverse set of interests. I talk about many of them on this blog. I love superhero comics, superhero movies, futuristic technology, and activities that involve nudity. I like to explore these topics because the world is a diverse and sexy place. I want this blog to reflect that, as well as entertain/titillate.

So when news emerges that involves superhero comics and a potential for entertainment/titillation, expect me to mention it at some point. When that news involves someone like Deadpool, a character who has built his entire appeal on that and dick jokes, you can pretty much set your watch to it.

I’ve talked about Deadpool many times before. I’m not the only one either. Deadpool is the new golden boy for Fox, Marvel, and the entire superhero genre. He was once a niche character with an especially loyal set of fans and cos-players. Then, former sexiest man alive, Ryan Reynolds, made Deadpool the hottest thing in spandex not named Jennifer Lawrence.

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The Deadpool movie wasn’t just a game-changer. It dropped a metric ton of napalm on the game, blew it up with C4, and roasted marshmallows over the entrails while strippers danced in the background. If that sounds crazy, then congratulations. You now have some insight into why Deadpool is so appealing.

The first Deadpool movie completely shocked the established superhero genre, grossing $783 million on a $58 million budget. At a time when many superhero movies need budgets of at least $250 million to be taken seriously, that’s not just impressive. That’s downright jarring.

The fact that Deadpool did this while being rated R, complete with exposed breasts and Ryan Reynold’s jerking off with a stuffed unicorn, makes it all the more astonishing. It proved that superhero movies could be mature, sexy, and appealing. It also proved they can be extremely profitable and nothing speaks louder in the entertainment industry than money. Why else would Disney have made fivePirates of the Caribbean” movies?

The impact is still being felt, but it’s already starting to show. Just this year, Fox proved that Deadpool’s success was not a fluke. The R-rated “Logan” movie made $606 million on a $97 million budget while generated critical acclaim. Once can be an anomaly. Twice is the beginning of a trend.

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In an effort to continue that trend, Fox and Marvel announced this past week that they will be making a Deadpool animated series for the FXX network. That’s the same network that hosts such kid-unfriendly shows like “Archer” and “It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia.” There couldn’t be a more appropriate home is what I’m saying.

Now, this news might not seem like a big deal to non-comic fans. Deadpool had a successful movie, making Fox and Marvel a boatload of money. With a sequel already in the works, why not capitalize on his popularity with a cartoon? It sounds like a normal money grab by big corporate media giants who are never satisfied with merely having a few pools of money to swim in.

There’s no doubt that’s part of the dynamic here, but there are far larger implications, some of which might have an impact on erotica/romance. Bear with me, here, because this is where I try to gaze into a crystal ball and not throw up. Since I haven’t won the lottery or predicted the Super Bowl yet, assume my ability for foresight is limited.

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Earlier this year, I talked about the success of the “Fifty Shades of Grey” movie, as well as the challenges associated with creating quality erotica/romance. Some of these challenges aren’t insurmountable, but they are daunting. The success of “Game of Thrones” might be nudging public attitudes to some extent, but only to a point.

Since Hollywood is too damn impatient when it comes to exploiting a market, I speculated that animation might actually be the key to future erotica/romance. It effectively circumvents many of those daunting challenges I mentioned. Cartoon characters don’t get too testy when you ask them to take their clothes off.

With a Deadpool cartoon being on FXX, there’s a lot more potential for raunchy sexiness. We already see it in shows like “Archer,” which doesn’t shy away from the kind of crude humor that is usually reserved for “South Park.” Unlike “Archer,” though, Deadpool has more brand recognition. He generates far more attention and not just because he’s been known to cross dress every now and then.

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Deadpool will be entering a market that’s ripe for growth. Adult-themed animation has been around for years, but has never been more than a niche market. That might be changing just in time for Deadpool.

In recent years, shows like “Archer” have inspired other shows like “Rick and Morty,” gaining more than just a cult following. These shows get away with plots and humor that would never make it past the network executives who are routinely terrified of getting a call from the FCC. By being animated, they can push the proverbial envelope in ways that go far beyond an exposed nipple.

Deadpool doesn’t stop at nipples, though. He’s a character who married a succubus and flirted with Spider-Man. He does things that made the kid-friendly executives at Disney faint. With a cartoon, they can even do things that Ryan Reynolds would never agree to and he’s the guy who agreed to do “R.I.P.D.

The potential that a Deadpool cartoon has cannot be understated. He can do more than just create another hit cartoon for a network that already has a few under their belt. He can foster a new audience that’s hungry for more mature animation.

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Between the success of movies like “Fifty Shades of Grey” and TV shows like “Rick and Morty,” Deadpool is coming along at the best possible time. By creating a larger audience, it’ll let the big wigs at major media studios that audiences do want sexier content. They want media that’s fun, sexy, and not afraid of showing a few nipples every now and then.

There will always be a place for kid-friendly cartoons, but animation need not be a medium that appeals to one segment of the population. There are many more people out there who want sexier material and they don’t need to whine to their parents for money to buy it.

A Deadpool cartoon definitely has plenty of appeal, especially to those who enjoyed the sex and violence of the movie. It has everything it needs to be success. However, it’s the implications of that success that may have far sexier implications.

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Filed under Comic Books, Jack Fisher, Superheroes, Jack Fisher's Insights, Uncategorized

Important Announcement: It’s OKAY To Be Sexy

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Today, I have a very important announcement to make. No, it has nothing to do with the release of my upcoming book, “Passion Relapse.” That’s still coming out on April 18th though. Yes, I’m going to promote the hell out of it in the coming weeks so get used to that.

This announcement is every bit as important as my first book. It may even be more important. Since I’m a long way from success as an erotica/romance writer, I don’t say that lightly. However, I do feel that this is worth saying. It needs to be said so brace yourself. This may shock a few people.

It’s OKAY to be sexy!

I’ll give everyone a moment to recover from the shock. Take all the time you need. I know. This is a startling revelation, but hang in there. We’ll get through this together. I promise.

Okay, that’s enough sarcasm for now. I’ll ease up on the melodrama, but it was necessary for a reason. I say it’s a good reason too because this is one of those topics that has no middle ground. Either people just shrug it off or they’re downright hysterical about it.

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Since I’m trying to break into the erotica/romance world, this subject actually affects me and could very well affect my future career. The stakes are higher for me is what I’m saying. So what exactly makes this announcement so vital?

Well, to answer that, here’s some context. It wasn’t that long ago that people didn’t make too big a deal about characters in movies, video games, and comic books who were overtly sexual. I’m not saying some people got their panties in one too many knots. I’m saying that, for a time, it really wasn’t high on the list of things that pissed us off.

That time wasn’t too long ago. For reference, allow me to cite one of the most iconic female characters of the past couple decades, Lara Croft. She’s always been one of those characters with a special kind of sex appeal. You could argue that her sex appeal helped make her an icon. How could it not? This is what she used to look like.

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That’s pretty sexy. I won’t deny that it’s somewhat impractical for a soldier or a fighter, but Lara Croft is still a badass, globe-trotting fighter who happens to look good in short shorts and bikinis. There’s nothing wrong with that. As a man, I greatly appreciate that sort of visual appeal.

Then, back in 2013, her character was essentially revamped and rebooted. The sex appeal was downplayed, if not outright purged. Lara Croft went from being a badass, globe-trotting fighter with a sexy attitude to just a badass, globe-trotting fighter. She’s still a beautiful woman by most objective standards, but she’s not allowed to be quite as sexy anymore. This is what she looks like now.

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Now I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with how Lara Croft looks now. That hasn’t made her video games any less enjoyable to play. However, the removal of her sex appeal is somewhat jarring.

Lara Croft isn’t the only female character to undergo that change either. Remember when I did my list of female characters that make men hate women? Well, on that list, I put a character named Felecia “Black Cat” Hardy. She’s a typical female vixen character from the Spider-Man comics. She’s another character whose persona is built around sex appeal, as evidenced by her costume.

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Well, like Lara Croft, she underwent a change too. No, she didn’t become any less likable. Yes, she’s still a character who will make men hate women on some levels. The only difference now is that she doesn’t show as much cleavage.

It’s part of an ongoing story in the Spider-Man comics to make Black Cat more of a crime lord than a vixen. The story has been mediocre for the most part. I won’t say it’s bad, but I will say that it has done nothing to change the parts of Black Cat’s character that make her so unlikable. Whether she’s fully clothed or wearing a G-string thong, she’s still a character that make men say stupid crap about women.

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I find this trend somewhat troubling and not just because it means less visible boobs. It troubles me because for some reason, the image of sexy women is somehow a bad thing. Granted, sexy women have always made people feel a bit uncomfortable and not just in their pants, but this is getting into dangerously regressive territory.

There’s no doubt that there’s a certain level of sexism in the media. There’s also a vocal component of radical feminism that has this mentality that any man who admires the image of a sexy woman is somehow sexist, perpetuating sexism, or contributing to rape culture. For a guy just admiring a beautiful woman, that’s pretty extreme.

Beautiful women, pictures of beautiful women, and any female character that has some form of sex appeal is now somehow contributing to this concept of “toxic masculinity.” That’s basically a catch-all term for all the terrible things men do and, conveniently enough, the cause is something that’s hard-wired into their own biology. That’s like calling a man sexist because he sweats more than most women.

Never mind the fact that the ideas of toxic masculinity and rape culture are somewhat flawed concepts. Never mind that since 1995, rates of sexual assault against women have declined by 58 percent. Apparently, all these sexy images are causing a crisis somehow.

Regardless of the facts, these crises are becoming more and more petty. Last year, I mentioned some of the laughable outrage generated by a comic book cover for Invincible Iron Man. Maybe I should’ve pointed it out then too, but that was just one sign among many.

Whether it’s due to concerns about body image or female representation in media, there’s a new moral crusade brewing. This time, however, it’s not being led by clerics, mullahs, monks, and popes. It’s being led by ordinary, educated people who have somehow convinced themselves that being sexy or admiring sexy things is somehow wrong.

I’m here to say that’s simply wrong. It’s okay to be sexy. It’s okay to admire sexy images. Whether you’re a man or a woman, you’re not a bad person for enjoying things you find sexy. You’re just a healthy mind in a healthy body. There’s no reason to apologize for that.

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Jack Fisher’s Top 5 Female Characters That Make Men Hate Women

Let’s face it. There are some fictional characters that are so detestable, so irredeemable, and so shamelessly mean that even a devout nun would want to punch them in the jaw. From King Joffrey to half the cast of “Friends,” there are plenty of characters we just love to hate and hate to hate.

Within that long list of depraved individuals, there are plenty of female characters. Women are just as capable of being that infuriatingly detestable. That’s one of the few things that both radical feminists and men’s rights activities can agree on. Some of these women don’t just give their gender a bad name. They act as a legitimate reason to roll back gender equality.

There are a lot of utterly detestable women in the real world and not just Lena Dunham and Ann Coulter types either. There are plenty more in the world of fiction and they do plenty to channel the inner Archie Bunker in all of us. It doesn’t matter how politically correct or how many gender studies courses you’ve taken. These characters inspire a special kind of hate.

When I compiled my list of great underrated female characters, I knew I would be contrasting them with women like this. The spectrum for female characters is pretty broad, despite what those behind the Bechtel Test may claim. On one end you have Furiosa from “Mad Max: Fury Road.” On the other, you have Regina George from “Mean Girls.

In the spirit of balance on this blog, I’m going to explore the other end of that spectrum. That means I’ll be tapping into some of the sinister sentiments I’ve explored before, namely those of misogynistic men. As always, I feel compelled to disclose that I do not support such sentiments. I am not here to start a gender war. I want this blog to remain funny and entertaining.

That said, I’m going to turn off my politically correct filter and dig into this den of detestable female characters. Just as before, I’ll stick to fictional characters with this list. Feminists, radical or otherwise, may want to brace themselves here. These are Jack Fisher’s top 5 female characters that make men hate women.


5. Lucy  Van Pelt (Peanuts Comics)

There are so many lovable characters in Charles Shultz’s iconic Peanuts comic strip. Seriously, how can you not love someone like Charlie Brown, Linus Van Pelt, or Pig Pen? Unless you’re a sociopath, it’s a challenge at best.

Then, there’s Lucy Van Pelt. If lovability has to be balanced with frothing hate, then it’s safe to say that Lucy does plenty to tip the scales. It’s not just that she never lets Charlie Brown kick that damn football. She’s coarse. She’s greedy. She’s manipulative. She’s constantly belittling others and telling them what to do, often with her firsts.

She may be a kid, but she embodies traits that kids and adults adults despise. She embodies the kind of callous cruelty that men often find in women who betray them. Lucy Van Pelt is very much a proto-Regina George, but she’s willing to punch people. That’s a dangerous and abhorrent combination.


4. Black Cat (Spider-Man)

When it comes to female comic book characters, I have a soft spot for self-proclaimed vixens. Throughout the history of comics, there have been many. From Emma Frost to Starfire, they embody the raw sex appeal that puts a smile on my face and a boner in my pants.

Now I understand there are certain uptight, overly PC folks who see vixens as an overt objectification of women. Most of the time, I just roll my eyes at these remarks. These are the same humorless asshats who claimed Wonder Woman was too sexy to be a UN ambassador for women. These people deserve no credibility.

That said, some characters do way too good a job of making those humorless asshats seem logical. Most female superhero vixens at least try to develop some sense of personality and depth. Even Jessica Rabbit had some moments of growth. For Felicia Hardy, also known as the Black Cat from the Spider-Man comics, there are no such moments.

She’s sexy. She’s cunning. She’s coy. Those are all basic traits of a vixen. However, Black Cat rarely uses her sex appeal for good. She’s a thief, a con-artist, and a liar. Unlike Catwoman, who will at least try to balance out her deviant habits, the Black Cat makes no effort.

She eagerly takes advantage of Spider-Man’s gullibility. She often uses her sexiness to manipulate others. She never makes any effort to grow or improve herself. She is a walking worst-case-scenario for a female vixen. She uses all her sex appeal for selfish indulgence and never for the greater good. She’s the epitome of irresponsibility and yet Spider-Man still wants to bone her. That says just as much about her as it does about Spider-Man.


3. Lois (Malcolm In The Middle)

There are any number of overplayed archetypes for male heroes. There’s the ladies man, the nerd, the jock, the rebel, and the token black guy. In every movie or TV show, you can usually find a couple of these characters.

For women, there are plenty of archetypes as well, but they’re not always as easy to identify. Most female characters tend to avoid the extremes of a given archetype. It’s not always balanced, but it’s rarely overt.

That’s what makes Lois, the temperamental mother from “Malcolm In The Middle,” such a frustrating character. She doesn’t try to avoid the extremes. She embraces them. She is, by every measure, the ultimate ball buster. She’s bossy, if not downright tyrannical. She’s callous, going out of her way to crush spirits and make everyone as miserable as her.

She embodies the kind of woman who takes over a home and runs it with an iron fist. Lois’ husband, Hal, is exceedingly submissive to her and not in a fun way. On top of that, nothing she does makes her deranged kids any less deviant. So not only is she a ball-busting tyrant, but she fails to realize that her methods don’t work, have never worked, and never will work. She’s the kind of woman that give men nightmares.


2. Peg Bundy (Married With Children)

Lois from “Malcolm In The Middle” isn’t the only sitcom that takes female archetypes to an infuriating extreme. Before there was Lois, there was another female character who inspired a special kind of dread in all heterosexual men. Her name still evokes fear in those who are thinking about getting married and for once, it’s not the name of a divorce lawyer.

Her name is Peggy Bundy from the classic Fox show, “Married With Children.” She embodies a different archetype than Lois, but one that’s every bit as detestable. She’s not the angry, ball-busting tyrant as much as she is the parasitic, soul-crushing, self-absorbed bitch who opts to bust balls indirectly. Given the many pathetic moments Al Bundy endures throughout the show, her methods work ominously well.

At least with Lois, she tries to better her family’s situation. Peggy makes no effort whatsoever. She doesn’t cook. She doesn’t clean. She doesn’t support her husband or family in any way. However, she still expects her husband to earn enough money to support her heavy shopping habits and her love of snack food.

She’s less a spouse and more a leech. The only reason Al married her is because she got him drunk. She represents the ultimate fear of men everywhere, a woman who exists solely to leech off their hard work and contribute nothing to the relationship or the family. As a female character, she is the ultimate cautionary tale for men seeking marriage.


1. Quinn Morgendorrfer (Daria)

This is just too fitting. When I made my list of the top five underrated characters, I made it a point to highlight Daria Morgendorrfer from the classic MTV show, “Daria,” as a likable, compelling, well-developed female character from an era that was just starting to develop those kinds of characters. On top of that, Daria didn’t even have to look good in a bikini to pull this off.

In that same show, however, there was another character who highlighted all the reasons Daria was so likable by being the complete opposite. Her name was Quinn Morgendorrfer. She’s Daria’s sister, although she spent nearly four-and-a-half seasons denying it.

Quinn, despite her bubbly persona, is the worst of the worst with respect to female characters men love to hate. At least with every other woman on this list, they’ll acknowledge their ego and narcissism to some extent. They’ll even joke about it. With Quinn, however, there’s no humility whatsoever.

For men, Quinn is one of those characters that just makes you want to grit your teeth and punch brick wall. She’s shallow, boring, self-centered, manipulative, uptight, whiny, and crass. It’s not just that she’s everything Daria isn’t. More than any other character on the show, she goes out of her way to avoid being likable or respectable in any capacity.

Quinn rarely, if ever, sees anyone as anything other than obstacles or opportunities. She doesn’t date men for any kind of emotional appeal. She just uses them for social status. The same goes for her female friends. She’ll ingratiate herself to them, but only because it helps her popularity. That’s what it’s all about for her, being popular and looking cute.

Quinn is the ultimate manifestation of what men don’t like about certain women. She uses and manipulates their emotions for her own personal gain. Even when she tries to do good, it’s often only because she wants to better herself and no one else. She doesn’t care if she breaks hearts or annoys others. She just wants to be cute and popular.


I hope this list and the one I posted before offers some insight into what makes quality female characters. I also hope it serves as a guide for men and women alike. Guys, if you’re looking for an ideal woman, stay away form the Quinns and Peggy Bundys of the world. Ladies, if you want men to be more understanding of women’s issues, then don’t be like Quinn or Peggy Bundy. We’ll all get along better as a result.

 

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Jack Fisher’s Top 5 Most Underrated Female Characters

When it comes to great female characters in pop culture, there are plenty of obvious choices. Contrary to what radical feminists believe about massive patriarchal conspiracies, our culture has created some pretty amazing women, real and fictional alike. So if there is a patriarchal conspiracy, they’re doing a piss poor job.

The best of the best, when it comes to female characters, are difficult to dispute. In the world of fiction, there’s Wonder Woman, Storm of the X-men, Captain Marvel from the Avengers, Supergirl, Sarah Conner from Terminator, Ripley from the Alien movies, Leslie Knope from “Parks and Recreation,” and Furiosa from “Mad Max: Fury Road.”

In the real world, we have just as many amazing women that raise the bar for both genders. We have Senator Elizabeth Warren, Madonna, Oprah Winfrey, Emma Stone, Maralyn Munroe, Lady Gaga, Janet Jackson, Malala Yousafzai, Michelle Obama, Taylor Swift, and whoever manages Taylor Swift’s public image. In either case, men and women alike have a great many choices in admirable female icons.

As great as these female characters are, however, there are still some characters that get overlooked and under-utilized. They’re still great characters in their own right. They just tend to get lost in the vast, chaotic, and constantly-shifting landscape of popular culture.

The same thing happens to male characters, but for better reasons. While they’re are plenty of great men in pop culture, there are a few too many that are blatant rip-offs of Superman, John McClane, and Batman.

So with that in mind, I’d like to acknowledge some of the overlooked, under-appreciated female characters that help make our culture great in their own unique way. For the sake of keeping this post brief and concise, I’ll focus on fictional characters. I find it’s a lot harder to ignore a real person these days when the media landscape is so vast, broad, and prone to strange memes and piss poor fact checking.

Since fictional characters can’t raise their voice, create a hashtag, or get thrown in jail for violating their probation, I figure they need this acknowledgement more than most. So without further adieu, here are Jack Fisher’s top 5 most underrated female characters.


5. Elaine Benes (Seinfeld)

This one may be a bit controversial because Seinfeld is a sitcom from a very different era. It’s also a show that gets constantly criticized by the politically correct crowd, but these humorless assholes only serve to undermine a female character who is balanced, compelling, and every bit as broken as the men.

In a show that has so many memorable characters, including Soup Nazis, Elaine still stands out as a great female character that brought out the best in actress, Julia Louis-Dreyfus. Elaine was an ex-girlfriend of Jerry Seinfeld, but that was never the primary emphasis for her character.

Elaine is smart. She has a distinct personality beyond just being the only woman in the main cast. She’s also every bit as quirky. In a show that has someone like Cosmo Kramer, that’s an accomplishment. On top of that, she can dance like no one else.


4. Berta (Two And A Half Men)

I’m not going to deny it. “Two and a Half Men” is as dirty a show as they come. It’s crude. It’s vulgar. It contains some of the least likable characters this side of South Park. I can totally understand why the same politically correct assholes that whined about “Seinfeld” would whine about this show.

Despite all the crude vulgarity, this show still had Berta. Played by Conchata Ferrell, she was one of the best parts of this show. Even though she played the role of a housekeeper, she was one of the few who really stood up to Charlie and Alan Harper throughout the series. Those two can disrespect and denigrate all the women they want. However, they never dared to disrespect Berta.

Given the nature of the show and the very public meltdown that accompanied it, Berta definitely deserves credit for standing out. In a world with personalities like Charlie Sheen, that’s also an accomplishment.


3. Maria Hill (Marvel Comics)

In the world of Marvel Comics, there are dozens upon dozens of powerful female characters. From heavy hitters like She-Hulk to lovable underdogs like Jubilee, there are so many iconic characters who have a strong place in comic book lore.

Then, there’s Maria Hill. She’s not a super spy martial artist like Black Widow. She’s not a sexy assassin like Elektra. She’s not even a side-kick like Batgirl. She’s the director of SHIELD and often the right hand of its one-eyed visionary, Nick Fury. The fact she doesn’t have superpowers and is in such a high position of authority in the same comic book universe that has She-Hulk says a lot about her.

She’s not just a hardass authority figure, although she can be at time. She’s not just someone who’s every bit as determined and capable as Nick Fury either. She commands respect in her own way. She has a personality that’s distinct and tough. She could easily be a CEO or a drill sergeant. Whatever she is, she’s someone others eagerly follow. For any character, male or female, that’s pretty awesome.


2. Samus Aran (Metroid)

Video games tend to be a hot-button issue when it comes to women, thanks largely to some whiny, asshole critics who go out of their way to piss people off. I won’t get into all the inane bullshit surrounding that issue, but I will concede that in the early days, women were basically the same as Disney princesses. If they weren’t being rescued, they were often in the process of being kidnapped by some giant lizard monster.

Then, Samus Aran came along. In the early 8-bit days of gaming, she set herself apart by being a badass female bounty hunter at a time when other characters were either elves, plumbers, or GI Joe knock-offs. Her ability to kick ass in games was so surprising that some gamers didn’t realize that she was a woman until the very end.

Samus was, and still is, a breakthrough character who tends to get overlooked in an era where more emphasis is on outrage over female characters rather than whether the character is actually awesome. She fought, kicked ass, and looked damn sexy while doing it. What more could you want out of a female character that doesn’t involve a bottle of lube?


1. Daria Morgendorffer

Some concepts are just too ahead of their time to have the kind of impact they deserve. The same goes for certain characters. Sometimes, a character comes along in a certain era that embodies something that doesn’t become truly meaningful until years later.

For Daria Morgendorffer of the classic 90s MTV show aptly titled, “Daria,” she’s one of those characters who would’ve been a much bigger deal if her show was on today. Daria is not your typical female protagonist. She’s not overly sexual. She’s not overly charismatic either. However, what she lacks in overt femininity, she more than makes up for with a distinct, memorable persona.

She’s dry and sarcastic. She’s coarse and brutally honest. She’s also caring and understanding when she needs to be. She’ll say what others are afraid to say and not give a damn who gets upset in the process. She never comes off as an overplayed trope or cliche. She’s very much her own person.

She’s also got an emotional side. Her feminine side isn’t completely subverted. Throughout the show, she has multiple love interests, including one that becomes a steady boyfriend. As a character, she feels both unique and real. She’s someone that men and women alike want as a friend and a companion. Few characters, female or otherwise, can make that same claim in modern TV show.

For me, personally, Daria has a special place in my heart. She was, and still is, one of my favorite TV characters in the 90s. I feel like TV has been missing something since her show ended. While she may have been ahead of her time, her words of wisdom ring true in any era. With that in mind, I’ll leave everyone with this:

Um, thank you. I’m not much for public speaking. Or much for speaking. Or, come to think of it, much for the public. And I’m not very good at lying. So let me just say that, in my experience, high school sucks. If I had to do it all over again, I’d have started advanced placement classes in preschool so I could go from eighth grade straight to college. However, given the unalterable fact that high school sucks, I’d like to add that if you’re lucky enough to have a good friend and a family that cares it doesn’t have to suck quite as much. Otherwise my advice is; Stand firm for what you believe in, until and unless experience proves you wrong. Remember, when the emperor looks naked, the emperor is naked. The truth and a lie are not sort of the same thing. And there is no aspect, no facet, no moment of life that can’t be improved with pizza. Thank you.

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Do We Expect Too Much Of Our Lovers?

When it comes to our ideal lover, most of us know what we want. In fact, what we want should be pretty damn clear, given that it’s laid out perfectly in every song ever made by Taylor Swift, the Beatles, and the Backstreet Boys.

We want our lover to be our everything. We want them to always be there for us. We want them to be 100 percent dedicated to us so we can be 100 percent dedicated to them. We want them to be the center of our world and everything orbiting around it. We want them to give us all the love, passion, and sex we want from now until the end of time. Is that really so much to ask?

Try and look at those demands without the aid of music or screaming fans. Read over them carefully. Think about them without imagining someone like Taylor Swift or Paul McCartney making them sound so sweet and appealing. Is that really a reasonable expectation to put on any human being, no matter how much you love them?

That’s a serious question that too few want to ask, let alone answer. Most people would rather listen to more sappy love songs and entertain fantasies of that perfect, ideal, completely devoted lover. Then, we’re somehow shocked and disappointed when we can’t find someone to be that devoted.

Setting aside, for a moment, that we don’t live in one big One Direction music video, this feels like one of those things where it’s impossible to see the forest from the trees and vice versa. It’s not just that popular culture has established so many unrealistic expectations about love, sex, marriage, and everything in between. There’s a certain disconnect in these expectations that seem to undermine the very concept of love.

This is one of the few disconnects that is pretty much the same for men, women, and those of unspecified gender. Men want a woman who is as devoted as Mother Teresa, but fucks like Jenna Jameson. Women want a man with status of a French aristocrat, but with the sexual prowess of Wilt Chamberlin. We may as well be asking for rich schizophrenic supermodel Olympian and there are only so many of those in the world.

This wholly unreasonable criteria also undermines some fundamental components of what love is and how it’s actually practiced in the real world. Wanting someone who is that devoted and that endowed doesn’t fit the profile of a mutual lover. It fits the profile of a super-powered butler/fuck buddy.

I know this may sound like the pot calling the kettle black because I write erotica/romance novels where some of those unreasonable expectations are explored. Some of my books deal with lovers who seem to check all the right boxes for each other. Some even involve actual superhuman abilities in matters of sex and love. I fully acknowledge that disconnect.

The difference is that my novels, as with most works of fiction, are molded in a fantasy world. These are worlds where it is possible for a princess to kiss a frog and have that frog turn into Hugh Jackman. Like pop songs, porn, and the lottery, they give others a means of entertaining this fantasy world, if only to escape from the frustrating realities of the real world.

That still doesn’t make the real world any less real. It doesn’t make our expectations surrounding sex and love less reasonable. So what’s the solution? How do we revise our expectations? Moreover, what exactly should we expect from our lovers?

To answer that, we need both caveman logic and a bit of context. In terms of context, we need to remember that up until the 18th century, most marriages and sexual partnerships were arranged and not chosen. In the same way we didn’t get to choose our parents, we didn’t get to choose our spouses either. Two family just got together, signed a contract, and that was as romantic as it ever got.

This worked fairly well for the many centuries wherein most of the human population lived on farms, barely knew anyone outside their small town or village, and were ruled by regional kings or despots. Then, we collectively decided that people should be able to choose who they marry, love, and spend their lives with. It’s actually more radical than it sounds and not in the Ninja Turtles sort of way.

Before this shift, the expectations were as low as the quality of an old Roger Corman movie. Your family picked your spouse. You’re then legally allowed to have sex with that spouse. If you’re lucky, you’ll enjoy it, but you kind of have to do it because the farm needs new workers and the local army needs new soldiers. The orgasms, if they come, are just a very nice bonus.

These being the expectations, it wasn’t hard to exceed them. Sometimes, arranged marriages do result in love. However, like orgasms, that’s a bonus and not an expectation. These days, we don’t just expect love and orgasms. We expect a goddamn superhero as our lover.

This gets even more ridiculous when you inject a little caveman logic into the mix. Out of necessity, our caveman ancestors operated in hunter/gatherer societies. One of the many key components of this society is that there could be no one superhero, white knight, or alpha male. Small bands of humans had to cooperate, share, and help each other.

This means two people and their children aren’t going to survive as well as a few dozen closely-knit groups. That two-person unit is just one stray bear attack away from being wiped out. With a tribe and a group, they’re better able to adapt and protect each other.

Why is that important? For one, it establishes a different set of expectations and those expectations extend to lovers, spouses, and children. Hunter/gatherer societies are fairly egalitarian in that one gender can’t treat another like a glorified pet and expect to survive. They need everyone to contribute. They need to be equals so they can share both resources and responsibilities.

This also means that strict monogamy isn’t always the best way to go. That’s not to say that these hunter/gatherer societies are some sort of hippie love fest that make for bad pornos and eccentric cults. It’s more likely that there’s a mix of polygamy and monogamy, but in either case, there’s a shared commitment to each other and the group.

This kind of balanced sharing doesn’t exactly jive with the “You Are My Everything” narrative that every Barry White song loves to convey. In fact, outside of an occasional X-men comic, a relationship of equals wherein neither partner does anything and everything for the other just isn’t seen as sexy enough.

I beg to differ. I believe this is the sexiest way that love and intimacy can manifest between partners. Whether they’re gay, straight, monogamous, or polygamous, a relationship of equals can accomplish more than any song, movie, or sitcom. If anything, those narratives only skew our expectations.

Look at any TV show or movie, be it animated or live-action, and the “happy” couple involved have the same problems. They can’t always deal with each other’s shit. They struggle to satisfy one another. In some cases, as in one particular sitcom, the differences are so toxic that the relationship would be downright unhealthy in the real world.

I know media tends to skew reality horribly, but it also creates the perceptions on which we build our expectations. If those expectations continue to fail us, then what are we to do? Are we setting ourselves up for romantic and sexual disappointment?

I try to take a more optimistic outlook on human affairs, even in matters of love and sex. I do think our expectations are changing, albeit slowly, and there’s only so much that music, TV, and movies can do to add luster to these lofty expectations.

The fact that there is a market for a relationships of equals, even if it is just an X-men comic, gives me hope that we as a species will find a way to improve our ability to love and be intimate in all the right ways and, most importantly, for all the right reasons.

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Sexy Sunday Thoughts (And Staying Warm)

It’s been more than a week since Thanksgiving. I take it everyone has had sufficient time to digest their meal, pick at the leftovers, and hate themselves for the weight they gained. To those who still feel bloated, I say cheer up! You’ll feel better just in time for Christmas. Then you’ll get to feel bloated all over again, but you’ll get presents this time. That should help you hate yourself a little less.

It’s amazing. We’ve made it to the last month of 2016. What an eventful/crazy/please-God-let-it-be-over year it has been. Stephen King, J R. R. Tolken, Shakespeare, and Ernest Hemmingway could collaborate on an entire series of novels and not do justice to the sheer insanity we’ve had this year. They’d probably quit and/or throw up in disgust halfway through and nobody would blame them.

I won’t harp on the details. I’d rather look forward to making this last month of 2016 a bit less insane. The holidays are here. I’ve got my Christmas tree up. I see decorations, pretty lights, and cheap eggnog everywhere I turn. It’s a wonderful time of year, one that gives us all a chance to end the year on a high note.

I’m certainly ready for the holidays. I’m entering the final month of this year on a bit of an upswing. My book, “Passion Relapse,” is in the works with my new publisher. I just finished a draft for another manuscript. I’ve got a long list of sexy stories to develop on my plate. I like to think I’m making the most of this crazy year and feeling sexy as hell while doing it.

I can’t undo any of the craziness that 2016 has given us. I can’t do much to allay the fears of those who dread 2017 just as much. I can only continue to fill the world with my eccentric, sexy, and colorful musings in hopes they’ll brighten someone else’s day.

That brings me to yet another addition of Sexy Sunday Thoughts. I’m trying to make it a weekly column that everyone can look forward to on this blog. Had a long week? Feeling tired, burned out, and run down? Say no more because I’m here to help!

So sit back, relax, hug your lover, hug a friend, and ditch the clothes. Let yourself feel content and free as I share with you the crazy sexy musings that fill my head on a Sunday morning in December.

“We build a holiday around a woman who gave birth without having sex, but we still celebrate when we or our friends give birth with sex. Am I missing something here?”

I’ve always wondered about that. The Virgin Mary is so revered, but we also revere those who can get laid and give birth. So which is it? Which is more worthy of such reverence?

“A cup of hot chocolate on a cold winter day is like an orgasm in liquid form.”

Staying warm in the winter is a challenge. With hot chocolate, marshmallows, and a little nutmeg, it’s be one of those fun challenges we can enjoy and we don’t even have to take our pants off.

“Anyone who says it’s better than sex might just be doing it wrong.”

I’m not saying it’s impossible for something to be better than sex. I’m just saying that some may have a skewed perspective.

“Large breasts and soft pillows offer a similar level of comfort. Coincidence? I think not.”

Large breasts have many functions. They are among the most beautifully functional structures in nature. What other body part can arouse us and calm us so effectively?

“Does sex really have a smell? Or is it just our other senses conspiring against us to keep us horny?”

I’ve often heard people claim that something or someone smells like sex. I’m not sure sex has a specific scent, but I am sure our bodies will use any excuse to make and keep us horny.

“A fat wallet is to a man what breast implants are to a woman.”

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. There’s no such thing as an unsexy rich man.

“The only difference between porno and action movies is that porno exchanges violence for sex.”

This is something that does bug me to some extent, sex being put on the same level as violence. When it comes to shooting someone or giving them an orgasm, I don’t think it’s a fair comparison.

“When you think about it, mutual oral sex between partners is an extremely enhanced hug.”

As a hugger by nature, I think there’s a spectrum of sorts when it comes to sharing intimacy. Mutual oral sex, namely that of the 69 position that Playboy loved to describe, is right in the middle.

That’s it for this week’s edition of sexy Sunday thoughts. Hope this helped warm you up, made you horny, or put you in the holiday spirit. If it ends up doing all three, then consider it a bonus.

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Our Shape-Shifting Future Love Lives

Has a man ever woken up one morning and thought to yourself, “I wish I could be a woman today?” It may sound like the musings of someone with serious gender identity issues, but I think it’s more common than we care to admit. Besides, it’s hardly the craziest thought that’s popped into my head in the morning. Depending on how much I’ve been drinking, I’ve been known to think some pretty twisted thoughts.

I’ll save those thoughts for another post. For this post, I’d like to discuss what I believe is the ultimate endgame for upgrading the human body. Those efforts are already underway. As futurist and author, Ray Kurzweil, discussed in his book, “The Singularity is Near,” we’re well on our way creating what he calls, “The Human Body 2.0.”

This body is to us what a Lamborghini is to a horse-drawn carriage. It’s a body that’ll give us strength, stamina, longevity, durability, and connectivity in ways that go far beyond where we put certain body parts. It has the potential to fundamentally transform how humans relate to one another socially, romantically, and sexually.

The romance and sex part is definitely of interest to me, if only because it gives me some twisted ideas for novels. Men and women in these bodies will definitely have a lot of options once they’ve enhanced themselves to a point where they can carry out acts of intimacy that make even Japanese anime porn look boring.

However, there is one other step to this trend if you can believe that and it has the potential to step up the craziness of our love lives even more if you can believe that. It’s something else that Kurzweil discusses in his book, but not in great detail because our caveman brains can’t process the implications.

Thankfully, I’ve twisted and warped my brain with a potent combination of sci-fi, comic books, and erotica for decades. I feel like I’m a bit more equipped to process these implications than most. Kurzweil calls this endgame, “The Human Body 3.0.” I call it the “Mystique Factor.”

What is the Mystique Factor? Well, once again, I need to revisit my love of comic books, in particularly X-men. I’ve talked about X-men in terms of love triangles that suck and romances that are actually equal. I’ll probably find ways to apply X-men to many more issues on this blog, but in this case, I think most will agree that the context here is just too perfect.

Specifically, I’d like to talk about Mystique. Who is Mystique? In the comics, she’s a mutant shape-shifter who specializes in deception, infiltration, and generally making life for the X-men a living hell. In the movies, she’s the character that required Jennifer Lawrence to run around naked. For that, straight men everywhere should have a special place in their heart for this character.

For the purposes of this discussion though, she’s more than just a perfectly malleable character whose sexiness is only limited by one’s perverse imagination. She’s essentially a manifestation of what The Human Body 3.0 will do for humanity, minus the blue skin and strategically-placed scales.

Mystique can shape-shift into any form she chooses. In the X-men comics and the movies, she with the same amount of effort that most people put into changing the channel on their TV. One minute she’s Wolverine. One minute she’s a middle-aged senator. One minute she’s an insanely sexy 20-something woman with blond hair, great legs, and a smile that can resurrect a dead puppy.

Yes, I’m a big Jennifer Lawrence fan, by the way. No, I’m not going to apologize for that. Let’s try to stay on topic here.

It goes beyond just tweaking her appearance in ways that plastic surgeons can only dream of. Mystique can basically swap genders on a whim. He default form is a woman, but she can take the form of a man. It’s never directly stated in the comics, most likely because the censors prefer to leave such dirty thoughts to internet message boards, but it’s pretty obvious. Mystique can turn into a man, grow a penis, and use it.

At one point, famed X-men writer, Chris Claremont, even planned to explore that concept by having Mystique father a child with a woman. Specifically, he wanted her to father Nightcrawler. In case you don’t know, this is Nightcrawler. He’s as devilishly charming as he looks.

Marvel vetoed that plans for reasons that I can only assume had to do with how confusing it would be to the collective balls of the entire X-men fanbase. In a series that already involves clones, aliens, and time travelers, this was deemed to be too much. Go figure.

Even if it was too much for Marvel in the late 20th century, who’s to say it won’t become a legitimate issue in the 21st or 22nd century? Transgender issues are already an emerging issue today in 2016. A century can bring a lot of crazy social change. Just ask any minority before the year 1950 for proof of that.

If we do indeed enhance our bodies to the point that Kurzweil predicts, then it’ll do more than just radically alter how we relate to one another romantically and sexually. It’ll completely upend the concept of gender as a whole.

For one, it would effectively render the whole transgender issue a moot point. If our bodies enhance to 3.0 status and we gain Mystique-caliber shape-shifting skills, then that means we can choose whichever gender we identify with. On top of that, the gender we choose will have fully functioning equipment, so to speak.

Individuals born as a men could turn into women to bear children. Those born as women can turn into men to never ever have to endure bearing children. That, or maybe they just want to know what a boner feels like. I imagine they’ll get bored with that real fast, but who’s to say they won’t have other reasons?

Technically speaking, there’s no reason this can’t happen with sufficiently advanced smart blood and nanotechnology. One of the big advancements with the Human Body 2.0 is that it utilizes nanotechnology and biotechnology to revamp, rewire, and reconfigure our physiology into something more robust and less prone to puking.

Gender, and all the equipment that comes with it, is just a manifestation of genetic information. Once our technology can manifest this information in the form of actual flesh, then all bets are off. We will all effectively become Mystique.

What will this mean for us? What will this mean for our sex lives, other than the fact we’ll be much better at recreating sex scenes from Game of Thrones? What will this mean for our love lives when everyone around us can turn into the gender we’re attracted to?

Whether we do it in real life or within a virtual world that’s indistinguishable from real life, it fundamentally changes our identity and how we see ourselves. How would men see women if they actually experience what it’s like to be a woman? How would women see men if they actually experienced what it’s like to be a man? It’s a step beyond empathy. It dealing with entirely different body parts and all the maintenance that comes with them.

A romance between two shape-shifters is a romance that requires a complete overall of basic courtship rituals. How do they decide which bodies to use? Do they have a template form? Do they have preferred gender roles? How do they decide which one of them has the kids if they want to have kids? You think couples argue about trivial shit now? Think about the arguments they’ll have when discussing which one of them gets to have a penis.

At the moment, I don’t think our caveman brains are equipped to handle being shape-shifters. Mystique has a handle on it because that’s what she’s always been. The comics and movies never depict her as being anything else. Sure, she tends to be a homicidal maniac who has been known to have babies with men who look like the devil, but it’s unreasonable to assume that’s typical.

It may very well be the case that humans in 2016 are only equipped to be one or, at most, two genders throughout our lifetimes. However, the humans equipped with 2.0 or 3.0 bodies be better situated. Both versions of bodies emphasize enhancing the capacity of the human brain, if only to handle all the major overhauls for the rest of the body. That brain will very likely not have the same flaws as our 1.0 caveman brains.

For the moment, I’m stuck with a 1.0 caveman brain and all its assorted flaws. That means I can’t comprehend entirely what a society of shape-shifters may be like between the sheets. That won’t stop me from trying though. If there is a way to tell an insanely sexy story about shape-shifters, then I’ll find it and turn it into a novel. That much you can be sure of.

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