i feel so privileged to have watched you grow as an artist and human being

Interesting Things from the Steven Universe Art and Origins book:

- The Gems were originally going to be straight up magical girls that transformed and had separate civilian identities.

- Another early concept is that they were created by a “mother” to protect the humans, but “mother” decided to destroy humanity so the girls formed “the giant woman” to defeat “mother” and save humanity.

- an early pre-pilot episode idea involved “Baby the badass biker-guy who wants to be a magical girl”

- other pre-pilot episode ideas had Steven’s crush on “Priyanka” (most likely early Connie), Pearl having a crush on the Pizza Guy, and Sadie possessed by a necklace that turns her into a popular singer and Lars potentially saving her.

- Steven is the opposite of a man-child, he’s a child-man!

- Rebecca says “Dramatic things don’t only happen to cool, serious people. And life doesn’t stop being ridiculous when a tragedy occurs.”

- Some old mythos from the pilot pitch - crystal gems were from another universe, Rose “vanished like a phoenix when Steven inherited her gem”, Rose would visit Steven’s dreams and give him advice and when he woke up roses would be growing around his body “which he finds very embarassing”

- the design of the human characters evolved from “food-centric” brainstorming. (i’m going to guess that being familiar with Akira Toriyama’s work might have helped with that)

- Rebecca in the pitch described the star symbol for the show as “They can look poppy and fun, but also ancient and magical.” and “It’s positive! It’s beautiful! It’s patriotic! It’s America!”

- Their goal was “doing Disney, seventies anime, and Hannah Barbera - all in the same art style”

- The crew enjoys using cartoons to talk about real world concepts because “People let their guard down when they watch cartoons.”

- The early Homeworld Gem concepts for “Cheeseburger Backpack” are extravagant and outlandish in a really gorgeous way, like a bunch of runway fashion models, They also played with the idea of having some of them wear faceplate helmets/masks like the Gem Temple statue has.

- Bismuth notes: “flirty with Pearl like construction worker”, thinks Pearl is hilarious/awesome “This high-class trophy wife who fights and kills people!”, “Huge respect for Garnet as an inter-class fusion - Sapphire for giving up privilege, Ruby for hitting that”

- The writers play a game where someone draws a scenario, and the picture gets passed to three different people who each write part of a story based on it. They’ve used a few of these for episode ideas.

- “Island Adventure” came from an episode idea that just read “Lars and Sadie make out - even though they’re not together.” It’s described as “Clearly, this was something we all wanted to happen.”

- “Onion Friend” also started out as one of these, the original idea involved “Grandma Shallot”

- “Future Boy Zoltron” came from two different writing games, one with Garnet using her future vision to do fortune telling (and being too blunt about it), and one with Steven reuniting Mr. Smiley with his old comedy partner. The notes for the latter include “also they were clearly lovers”

- The story game that eventually became “We Need to Talk” had Greg walk in on Steven and Connie kissing in the beginning and trying to give them the other “talk”, and he learned about fusion when he saw Pearl and Amethyst practicing it. 

- There was also an as-of-now unused idea set soon after Garnet joining the Crystal Gems about Rose asking her to fuse and Garnet being uncomfortable with it and Peal being annoyed that Garnet is uncomfortable with it

- There was an idea the writers kicked around for a while about a floating continent the Gems had elevated years ago called “Airstralia”

- It’s important that Steven is “as excited about everyday human things as he is about magic Gem things”

- About “Mindful Education”: “How can we make a story about meditation exciting? How can we get kids invested in a way that will make them want to see meditation work for the characters?”

- There are also “Design a Gem/Design Gem Technology” games where one person draws a character or object and another has to come up with the description. One of these is a potential design for a healed Earth Beetle, a tiny gem about the size of Steven’s head. Some of the “tech” is a gem embedded in a slice of pizza, a device that projects thoughts that Steven uses to spy on Lars’ dreams (complete with doodle of him dreaming about Sadie and Steven saying”I knew it!”), and a visor that shows you someone’s power level but also how sad they’re feeling - “with this information you can fight them physically and emotionally”

- The writers think ““I knew it!” is always better than “I didn’t see that coming””, so they like dropping lots of hints into the show

- With Ruby and Sapphire, Rebecca wanted to make a couple that looked very different from each other but were also obviously a perfect match for each other.

- Early versions of Peal and Garnet’s fusion were a lot more stoic-looking

- Steven and Connie’s relationship is described as “the pure love of children” and “that eternal love that could withstand anything” 

- About Peridot: shows that you can be hyperactive and weird but still loved, also showing that you can be friends with people who were raised differently from you, also “a straight-up corny alien”

- the ideas that Gems could pull things out of their gems and shapeshift came from old Tex Avery-type cartoons: “ What if we take the way that a classic cartoon character acted and turned it into a superpower?”. Also “One of our goals was to have these characters who were powerful heroes, but also have them be funny and weird too.”

- from a Storyboard Test for aspiring artists: the crystal gems and Steven = “like three Zeldas and a Mario”

- Estelle gave Rebecca advice on writing “Stronger Than You” and “Here Comes a Thought”

- “Comet” was an adaption of a song from a band Nick DeMayo (the animtion director) was in in the 80s

- “We wanted this beautiful perfection of everything that had to do with Homeworld and Gem society, but it had to be kind of eerie. One of the principal idea is that perfection is not something to strive for - that it’s not necessarily good, that imperfection should be celebrated.”

- They want the show to be “subversive in a positive way”

deneebenton: You’ve heard a lot of voices, we thought it was time that you heard from us 💕 social media won’t be able to help me express how profound this experience has been in my life, I’d probably have to write a book. All I know is that this work of art is to be revered, and these warriors that I share the stage with and the back stage with are the most ferociously AUTHENTIC, skilled artists that I’ve ever had the honor to work with. We’ve given our hips, our knees, our stomach lining, our love, our gifts and so much more, and it was worth it. It’s only the beginning beautiful people, hold your heads up HIGH. Nearly A year on Broadway with our unique, strange, beautifully human, ORIGINAL piece is something to be oh so proud of, especially in a world where capitalism tends to choke the authenticity out of everything. We came, and we THRIVED. Come catch our beautiful comet one last time before it goes on to bless another galaxy. #wearethegreatcomet#Natashailoveyougirl

(More of the cast’s comments under cut)

Keep reading

My Anime Recommendations

And the reasons why…

Fairy Tail

Originally posted by fairytailwitch

I honestly believe that this show has everything you need. It follows the magical Fairy Tail guild focusing mainly on the characters of Lucy Heartfilia (who acts as  a narrator for much of the show), Natsu Dragneel, Erza Scarlet, Gray Fullbuster and Wendy Marvell - the five of them make up “Team Natsu.” 

It’s full of adventure and all the things that come with it: humor, angst, hardship, love, camaraderie, friendship, sacrifice, family, sorrow, light and darkness. The characters are complex and develop as the series progresses. There are intense battles, frustrating and fantastic plot twists, and things that make you fall in love with the world, the characters and even the villains. 

If you want to watch a show that will make you happy and sad at the same time, will make you root for the villain as much as the hero, and make you want to scream in joy and laughter and cry in the fetal position, Fairy Tail is the show for you.

Attack on Titan

Originally posted by zeroraws

Eren Jaeger has the best eyes in anime. No joke.

But if you want to be on the edge of your seat from the first minute of a show, and be drawn into one of the most intense shows ever created - you’ve come to the right place.

Attack On Titan is about humanity fighting for their survival against the Titans - monsters who eat humans. This isn’t a show where all the best/favorite characters will find a way to survive. They die. Horrifically. 

This show is going to bring up some intense emotions as it explores the deepest instincts of human nature - grief, sorrow, love, trust, hatred, terror and the fight for survival; these themes will leave you trembling and begging for more.

Seraph of the End

Originally posted by eevee64

Family is the overriding theme in this show about a post-apocalyptic world ruled by vampires. The feels from Mikaela and Yuu will have you in tears. 

This show really questions the length that humans will go to for what they want. 

Who is the real enemy? Who is using who? What the hell is going on and why is it happening? 

Thankfully the second season is going to be released soon. 

Watch the first episode without distraction and you will understand the pull and the intensity of the entire show. Prepare to feel like your entire world is ending. 

It’s awesome. 

Soul Eater

Originally posted by lordeath

It’s a fight for the rule of the world. Miesters and their Weapons protect the citizens of Death City from witches and the Kishan. 

Maka Albarn and Soul “Eater” Evans, with friends Death the Kid, Patty and Liz, Black Star and Tsubaki, are all on a journey to better themselves, and protect everyone from the evils of their world. Each character finds themselves in different situations where they have to overcome their fears and weaknesses.

As well as the battles and the hardships that they go through, the show is filled with humor and is about building trust and understanding between one another. Every character has its quirk and you’ll find yourself questioning if everything is really as it seems as the show progresses. 

Ouran High School Host Club

Originally posted by teppeliin

Watching this show, you might think its too ridiculous. But look closer. The character development, and the way that you get to understand each person will make you question your original judgment. Not to mention that it’s all hidden beneath the most hilarious 20-23 minutes of your life.

Quite literally, your stomach will ache from laughter. This show teaches you how important the bonds between friends are. It teaches that a disparity in class really shouldn’t matter at all - everything is a learning experience and you’ll enjoy watching the rich boys try their hardest and fail to understand - and the differences between people forge even stronger relationships. 

It’s endearing, it’s funny, and it will make you look twice. There’s always more to this show than it looks like. 

Bleach

Originally posted by anima-posts

As you are introduced to each new character, you’re made privy to the ever-growing complex worlds of humans and Soul Reapers. The story follows the loyal, protective, “i-must-save-the-world-on-my-own” Ichigo Kurosaki as he navigates being both Soul Reaper and human, undergoing intense training and battling enemies within and without. 

The never-ending battle between Soul Reapers and the Hollows leaves no one in Ichigo’s unaffected. With Rukia, a Soul Reaper, who lives in his closet for the majority of the show, the adventures and the ceaseless encounters with enemies force Ichigo to grow stronger and stronger.

This show is about overcoming fear to protect the people you love no matter the cost, and the cost can be great. Believing in yourself and believing in your friends is the most important thing. 

Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun

Originally posted by mochiiku

If you’re looking for something that will make you feel good, this is the show. There is no angst, hardly any sadness. It’s really a feel-good show about a high-school artist, Chiyo Sakura, who has a crush on her classmate, Nozaki-kun, who is a manga artist.

The show follows her as she learns more about him, meets his friends and hilarity ensues as each character has their own special quirk, flaw and amusing side. It’s a pick-me-up, and I promise you’ll like the way it makes you feel. 

Naruto

Originally posted by yukinepng

Originally posted by bubblesaski

If you’re like me an late to the Naruto party, get over the first 50 episodes and you’ll fall for it. Naruto is a show with complex plot, even more complex characters and fantastic scenes that will make you fall for each and everyone one of them.

The angst that develops will make you want to hide in your blankets, scream and question why. The battles are epic. The emotions run high. You will never want to stop watching. 

But the character development is one of my favorite parts of the show, and watching as Naruto grows as been a privilege. Also, Hinata might be (in my opinion) the best character in the show, despite her not getting as much screen time, due to her development. 

But Kakashi Hatake is going to steal your heart. 

Watch this show. Just do it. 

Kaze No Stigma

Originally posted by sophiebridgers

Complicated family history? Check. Misunderstandings to resolve? Check. Developing feelings and denying them? Check. Supernatural abilities? Check. Badassness? Check. Author dying before he could finish the series? Check.

Aside from the tragedy of the authors death, this show is absolutely fantastic and the questions left unanswered may haunt you, but you’ll be happy that you were able to ask them.

Reigning in tempers, training, fighting, helping, protecting, loving, and dubious deeds done for the best and worst intentions are all present in this show. It’s something that has to be watched to be understood, and you won’t regret getting on board. 

One Piece

Originally posted by perona-s

Look, the only way to describe this show is: EPIC.

Pirates, they Navy, the World Government… it’s a battle for the seas like you’ve never seen it before. Follow Monkey D. Luffy and his crew, the Straw Hat Pirates, as they take on the entire world so each member can fulfill their own dreams. 

The plot twists and turns more and more as new characters are introduced, as peoples pasts are revealed and as each new battle begins. 

And the superhuman abilities and fights make it all the more enjoyable. You will experience joy, angst, sorrow and quite literally every other emotion under the sun as the characters draw you in with their quirks and complex personalities.  

Seriously, EPIC.

Sword Art Online

Originally posted by sao-and-ggo

How would you react to being trapped inside a virtual reality death game? Kirito and Asuna navigate their way for two years within Sword Art Online, becoming the two strongest players in the game so they can survive. If your HP drops to zero, you not only die in game, you die in real life. It’s a high stakes battle for survival and the only way out is to defeat the bosses on each of the 100 floor levels. 

This show makes you consider where the future of technology is headed and truly treasure the friendships and love you have in your life. 

Death isn’t just a game.

Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic

Originally posted by magi-sheba

Oh yeah, this is the kind of show that will make you fall in love within the first episode and leave you wanting more.

Never underestimate the little guy.

Full of magic, adventure, light and darkness and based from the tales of 1001 Arabian Nights, you’ll enjoy the ride as you get to know Aladdin, Ali Baba, Sinbad and others as they fight against those who would plunge the world into darkness.

Psycho-Pass

Originally posted by yuki-natsuki3

In a futuristic world where life is controlled by the “Sybil System” and your “psycho-pass” determines your place in the world, fear and violence are unknowns which makes humanity weaker than ever before.

Introducing the new ‘police’ and their ‘dogs’, who patrol the streets and take care of the criminals to keep people safe. But the criminal underground has become more active lately and its all thanks to one man who wants to bring down the Sybil System.

You want to know what the Sybil System really is? WATCH THIS SHOW.

It’s dark, it’s going to draw you in an spit you out. You’re going to want the best things for the characters and the ending is going to crush your dreams. But don’t worry, there’s always Psycho-Pass 2 and the Psycho-Pass movie to keep the angst rolling. 

Enjoy.

Fifth Harmony's Lauren Jauregui Pens Open Letter to Donald Trump Voters: 'I Am a Bisexual Cuban-American Woman & I Am So Proud of It'

To every single Trump supporter trying to say that voting for Trump does not mean that you are racist, homophobic, sexist, xenophobic, assholes… that you just like the way he didn’t really care what people thought and just said whatever he wanted… that he wasn’t a politician, so he wasn’t part of the establishment and didn’t have corrupt money backing him…

This is for you:

Your words are worthless, because your actions have led to the single-handed destruction of all the progress we’ve made socially as a nation. You have, with your pure ignorance and refusal to understand the way the government and the world works, allowed a power-hungry business tycoon to take over the United States of America. “The land of the free, the home of the brave, under God, indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for ALL.”
You are HYPOCRITES.
Restoring the America-that-was is only stagnating the progression of our consciousness. You voted for a person who built an 18-month campaign off the back of your hatred. He manipulated ALL of you with such ease by speaking to the darker parts of you that had started to feel ashamed about the way you viewed the “politically correct” world. He became your champion, because he spoke to the parts of you that think you are superior to the rest of us (just like Hitler did in Germany before the Holocaust! Just read his autobiography: Mein Kampf).
This politically correct world we’ve created, which is really just a world with social etiquette, where we have weeded out the language of racism and explained why, where we have established feminism as a growing notion of making women realize their validity and right to be treated as the full complex beings they are and men the same (which clearly needs A LOT of work considering how women across America, especially white women, voted for this man who insulted your very existence every time he opened his mouth or disrespected Hillary during his campaign), where we have had to create numerous labels to help queer people who didn’t fit the cis heterosexual mold feel valid and identified in a world where narrow-minded consciousness has made them feel invalid and invisible for so long. That’s the “politically correct” behavior you wanna get rid of? You wanna restore America to a world where the human beings around you feel scared to be themselves and live and love freely?
Apart from how selfish that is, it is so very un-CHRIST-like, because your God is watching and He knows your hearts and He is aware of the true reason you chose such a human to run the most powerful country in the world, and I promise you the God that I have come to know and love is intolerant of judgment and hatred. And I know this, because I was raised Roman Catholic in a Latin household and went to private Catholic school my whole life so I have studied WAY more than most of you have studied the religion or the Bible for that matter. The ONLY reason is your inability to accept the growing world around you. You chose hatred. Your heart chose to separate yourself as a superior when the only superior in existence in this entire universe is SO much greater than you.
Our “political correctness” that your champion, Donald Trump, so pointedly disregarded throughout his entire campaign and now with the appointment of his advisors and other government officials, is the language we have worked tirelessly to establish to feel safe in a world that never stops reminding us we are minorities. I am a bisexual Cuban-American woman and I am so proud of it. I am proud to be part of a community that only projects love and education and the support of one another. I am proud to be the granddaughter and daughter of immigrants who were brave enough to leave their homes and come to a whole new world with a different language and culture and immerse themselves fearlessly to start a better life for themselves and their families.
I am proud to be a woman. Proud that the sex between my thighs provides a strength and resilience in me that only other women can feel, that my body curves in ways that allow me to create life within me, that my entire life is filled with adversity and doubt and people questioning my intelligence and my artistic potential and my expression of myself and my virtue and honor because I am too much woman. I am proud that I get to prove them all wrong. I am proud that I have to work even harder for it. I was raised to feel that I can do ANYTHING, and I will always believe that. I am proud to feel the whole spectrum of my feelings and I will gladly take the label of “bitch” and “problematic” for speaking my mind the same way any man would be admired and respected for doing. But, I will also extend the fullest hand of compassion and empathy for anyone labeling me as such.
I also know that in my struggle of being a woman I am so very privileged. I was born with a lighter complexion and green eyes (thanks genetics) so from that narrow-minded perspective, I’m white. I have experienced the privilege those genes have granted me, and I am grateful and will continue to speak on behalf of the women around the world and in our very own country who do not experience a fraction of that respect because of the color of their skin or what they choose to wear, or how their hair looks, or how much makeup they have on or any other absurdity that we women are reduced to.
It’s truly disheartening to me to see so many beautiful women who have no idea what their potential is. This election made it blatantly obvious just how many women can’t see it. We have failed ourselves as a nation. We are the example for the world, and we have failed our fellow humans who were watching us with hope that we would not allow hatred to prevail. I have had the privilege of being in a band that has allowed me to travel all over the world. I cannot express the gratitude I have for this experience because it opened my eyes to so many things and has allowed me to view the world from such a simple perspective, a perspective that I understand not very many people have the opportunity to experience.
If I could tell every Trump supporter two things, it would be to travel and read a history book. Look beyond yourselves, look at how petty the morals you uphold seem when you realize we are not the only ones. Realize that your white skin is the result of immigration from Europe, that the only true “Americans” are Native Americans, who are indigenous people that inhabited this land before these conquerors from other countries (England, France, Italy, Spain) wiped them out almost entirely. None of us belong here but all of us deserve the right to feel safe and live our lives in peace. To not have to worry about potentially dying, or being electro-shocked, or beaten, or raped, or emotionally abused because our existence and/or choices for ourselves upset someone else. This is the world Trump is fostering. This is the division that has risen since the beginning of the campaign. We are not America indivisible any longer, we are united on two separate sides; Love and Hatred. We are not “whining” about our presidential choice losing, we are screaming battle cries against those whose political and personal agendas threaten our lives and sanity. We are making sure you hear us, no matter how much it bothers you, we EXIST.

Lauren’s interview for Billboard

To every single Trump supporter trying to say that voting for Trump does not mean that you are racist, homophobic, sexist, xenophobic, assholes… that you just like the way he didn’t really care what people thought and just said whatever he wanted… that he wasn’t a politician, so he wasn’t part of the establishment and didn’t have corrupt money backing him…

This is for you:

Your words are worthless, because your actions have led to the single-handed destruction of all the progress we’ve made socially as a nation. You have, with your pure ignorance and refusal to understand the way the government and the world works, allowed a power-hungry business tycoon to take over the United States of America. “The land of the free, the home of the brave, under God, indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for ALL.”

You are HYPOCRITES.

Restoring the America-that-was is only stagnating the progression of our consciousness. You voted for a person who built an 18-month campaign off the back of your hatred. He manipulated ALL of you with such ease by speaking to the darker parts of you that had started to feel ashamed about the way you viewed the “politically correct” world. He became your champion, because he spoke to the parts of you that think you are superior to the rest of us (just like Hitler did in Germany before the Holocaust! Just read his autobiography: Mein Kampf).

This politically correct world we’ve created, which is really just a world with social etiquette, where we have weeded out the language of racism and explained why, where we have established feminism as a growing notion of making women realize their validity and right to be treated as the full complex beings they are and men the same (which clearly needs A LOT of work considering how women across America, especially white women, voted for this man who insulted your very existence every time he opened his mouth or disrespected Hillary during his campaign), where we have had to create numerous labels to help queer people who didn’t fit the cis heterosexual mold feel valid and identified in a world where narrow-minded consciousness has made them feel invalid and invisible for so long. That’s the “politically correct” behavior you wanna get rid of? You wanna restore America to a world where the human beings around you feel scared to be themselves and live and love freely?

Apart from how selfish that is, it is so very un-CHRIST-like, because your God is watching and He knows your hearts and He is aware of the true reason you chose such a human to run the most powerful country in the world, and I promise you the God that I have come to know and love is intolerant of judgment and hatred. And I know this, because I was raised Roman Catholic in a Latin household and went to private Catholic school my whole life so I have studied WAY more than most of you have studied the religion or the Bible for that matter. The ONLY reason is your inability to accept the growing world around you. You chose hatred. Your heart chose to separate yourself as a superior when the only superior in existence in this entire universe is SO much greater than you.

Our “political correctness” that your champion, Donald Trump, so pointedly disregarded throughout his entire campaign and now with the appointment of his advisors and other government officials, is the language we have worked tirelessly to establish to feel safe in a world that never stops reminding us we are minorities. I am a bisexual Cuban-American woman and I am so proud of it. I am proud to be part of a community that only projects love and education and the support of one another. I am proud to be the granddaughter and daughter of immigrants who were brave enough to leave their homes and come to a whole new world with a different language and culture and immerse themselves fearlessly to start a better life for themselves and their families.

I am proud to be a woman. Proud that the sex between my thighs provides a strength and resilience in me that only other women can feel, that my body curves in ways that allow me to create life within me, that my entire life is filled with adversity and doubt and people questioning my intelligence and my artistic potential and my expression of myself and my virtue and honor because I am too much woman. I am proud that I get to prove them all wrong. I am proud that I have to work even harder for it. I was raised to feel that I can do ANYTHING, and I will always believe that. I am proud to feel the whole spectrum of my feelings and I will gladly take the label of “bitch” and “problematic” for speaking my mind the same way any man would be admired and respected for doing. But, I will also extend the fullest hand of compassion and empathy for anyone labeling me as such.

I also know that in my struggle of being a woman I am so very privileged. I was born with a lighter complexion and green eyes (thanks genetics) so from that narrow-minded perspective, I’m white. I have experienced the privilege those genes have granted me, and I am grateful and will continue to speak on behalf of the women around the world and in our very own country who do not experience a fraction of that respect because of the color of their skin or what they choose to wear, or how their hair looks, or how much makeup they have on or any other absurdity that we women are reduced to.

It’s truly disheartening to me to see so many beautiful women who have no idea what their potential is. This election made it blatantly obvious just how many women can’t see it. We have failed ourselves as a nation. We are the example for the world, and we have failed our fellow humans who were watching us with hope that we would not allow hatred to prevail. I have had the privilege of being in a band that has allowed me to travel all over the world. I cannot express the gratitude I have for this experience because it opened my eyes to so many things and has allowed me to view the world from such a simple perspective, a perspective that I understand not very many people have the opportunity to experience.

If I could tell every Trump supporter two things, it would be to travel and read a history book. Look beyond yourselves, look at how petty the morals you uphold seem when you realize we are not the only ones. Realize that your white skin is the result of immigration from Europe, that the only true “Americans” are Native Americans, who are indigenous people that inhabited this land before these conquerors from other countries (England, France, Italy, Spain) wiped them out almost entirely. None of us belong here but all of us deserve the right to feel safe and live our lives in peace. To not have to worry about potentially dying, or being electro-shocked, or beaten, or raped, or emotionally abused because our existence and/or choices for ourselves upset someone else. This is the world Trump is fostering. This is the division that has risen since the beginning of the campaign. We are not America indivisible any longer, we are united on two separate sides; Love and Hatred. We are not “whining” about our presidential choice losing, we are screaming battle cries against those whose political and personal agendas threaten our lives and sanity. We are making sure you hear us, no matter how much it bothers you, we EXIST.

Fifth Harmony's Lauren Jauregui Pens Open Letter to Donald Trump Voters: 'I Am a Bisexual Cuban-American Woman & I Am So Proud of It'

To every single Trump supporter trying to say that voting for Trump does not mean that you are racist, homophobic, sexist, xenophobic, assholes… that you just like the way he didn’t really care what people thought and just said whatever he wanted… that he wasn’t a politician, so he wasn’t part of the establishment and didn’t have corrupt money backing him…

This is for you:

Your words are worthless, because your actions have led to the single-handed destruction of all the progress we’ve made socially as a nation. You have, with your pure ignorance and refusal to understand the way the government and the world works, allowed a power-hungry business tycoon to take over the United States of America. “The land of the free, the home of the brave, under God, indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for ALL.”

You are HYPOCRITES.

Restoring the America-that-was is only stagnating the progression of our consciousness. You voted for a person who built an 18-month campaign off the back of your hatred. He manipulated ALL of you with such ease by speaking to the darker parts of you that had started to feel ashamed about the way you viewed the “politically correct” world. He became your champion, because he spoke to the parts of you that think you are superior to the rest of us (just like Hitler did in Germany before the Holocaust! Just read his autobiography: Mein Kampf).

This politically correct world we’ve created, which is really just a world with social etiquette, where we have weeded out the language of racism and explained why, where we have established feminism as a growing notion of making women realize their validity and right to be treated as the full complex beings they are and men the same (which clearly needs A LOT of work considering how women across America, especially white women, voted for this man who insulted your very existence every time he opened his mouth or disrespected Hillary during his campaign), where we have had to create numerous labels to help queer people who didn’t fit the cis heterosexual mold feel valid and identified in a world where narrow-minded consciousness has made them feel invalid and invisible for so long. That’s the “politically correct” behavior you wanna get rid of? You wanna restore America to a world where the human beings around you feel scared to be themselves and live and love freely?

Apart from how selfish that is, it is so very un-CHRIST-like, because your God is watching and He knows your hearts and He is aware of the true reason you chose such a human to run the most powerful country in the world, and I promise you the God that I have come to know and love is intolerant of judgment and hatred. And I know this, because I was raised Roman Catholic in a Latin household and went to private Catholic school my whole life so I have studied WAY more than most of you have studied the religion or the Bible for that matter. The ONLY reason is your inability to accept the growing world around you. You chose hatred. Your heart chose to separate yourself as a superior when the only superior in existence in this entire universe is SO much greater than you.

Our “political correctness” that your champion, Donald Trump, so pointedly disregarded throughout his entire campaign and now with the appointment of his advisors and other government officials, is the language we have worked tirelessly to establish to feel safe in a world that never stops reminding us we are minorities. I am a bisexual Cuban-American woman and I am so proud of it. I am proud to be part of a community that only projects love and education and the support of one another. I am proud to be the granddaughter and daughter of immigrants who were brave enough to leave their homes and come to a whole new world with a different language and culture and immerse themselves fearlessly to start a better life for themselves and their families.

I am proud to be a woman. Proud that the sex between my thighs provides a strength and resilience in me that only other women can feel, that my body curves in ways that allow me to create life within me, that my entire life is filled with adversity and doubt and people questioning my intelligence and my artistic potential and my expression of myself and my virtue and honor because I am too much woman. I am proud that I get to prove them all wrong. I am proud that I have to work even harder for it. I was raised to feel that I can do ANYTHING, and I will always believe that. I am proud to feel the whole spectrum of my feelings and I will gladly take the label of “bitch” and “problematic” for speaking my mind the same way any man would be admired and respected for doing. But, I will also extend the fullest hand of compassion and empathy for anyone labeling me as such.

I also know that in my struggle of being a woman I am so very privileged. I was born with a lighter complexion and green eyes (thanks genetics) so from that narrow-minded perspective, I’m white. I have experienced the privilege those genes have granted me, and I am grateful and will continue to speak on behalf of the women around the world and in our very own country who do not experience a fraction of that respect because of the color of their skin or what they choose to wear, or how their hair looks, or how much makeup they have on or any other absurdity that we women are reduced to.

It’s truly disheartening to me to see so many beautiful women who have no idea what their potential is. This election made it blatantly obvious just how many women can’t see it. We have failed ourselves as a nation. We are the example for the world, and we have failed our fellow humans who were watching us with hope that we would not allow hatred to prevail. I have had the privilege of being in a band that has allowed me to travel all over the world. I cannot express the gratitude I have for this experience because it opened my eyes to so many things and has allowed me to view the world from such a simple perspective, a perspective that I understand not very many people have the opportunity to experience.

If I could tell every Trump supporter two things, it would be to travel and read a history book. Look beyond yourselves, look at how petty the morals you uphold seem when you realize we are not the only ones. Realize that your white skin is the result of immigration from Europe, that the only true “Americans” are Native Americans, who are indigenous people that inhabited this land before these conquerors from other countries (England, France, Italy, Spain) wiped them out almost entirely. None of us belong here but all of us deserve the right to feel safe and live our lives in peace. To not have to worry about potentially dying, or being electro-shocked, or beaten, or raped, or emotionally abused because our existence and/or choices for ourselves upset someone else. This is the world Trump is fostering. This is the division that has risen since the beginning of the campaign. We are not America indivisible any longer, we are united on two separate sides; Love and Hatred. We are not “whining” about our presidential choice losing, we are screaming battle cries against those whose political and personal agendas threaten our lives and sanity. We are making sure you hear us, no matter how much it bothers you, we EXIST.

Lauren's interview for Billboard

To every single Trump supporter trying to say that voting for Trump does not mean that you are racist, homophobic, sexist, xenophobic, assholes… that you just like the way he didn’t really care what people thought and just said whatever he wanted… that he wasn’t a politician, so he wasn’t part of the establishment and didn’t have corrupt money backing him…

This is for you:

Your words are worthless, because your actions have led to the single-handed destruction of all the progress we’ve made socially as a nation. You have, with your pure ignorance and refusal to understand the way the government and the world works, allowed a power-hungry business tycoon to take over the United States of America. “The land of the free, the home of the brave, under God, indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for ALL.”

You are HYPOCRITES.

Restoring the America-that-was is only stagnating the progression of our consciousness. You voted for a person who built an 18-month campaign off the back of your hatred. He manipulated ALL of you with such ease by speaking to the darker parts of you that had started to feel ashamed about the way you viewed the “politically correct” world. He became your champion, because he spoke to the parts of you that think you are superior to the rest of us (just like Hitler did in Germany before the Holocaust! Just read his autobiography: Mein Kampf).

This politically correct world we’ve created, which is really just a world with social etiquette, where we have weeded out the language of racism and explained why, where we have established feminism as a growing notion of making women realize their validity and right to be treated as the full complex beings they are and men the same (which clearly needs A LOT of work considering how women across America, especially white women, voted for this man who insulted your very existence every time he opened his mouth or disrespected Hillary during his campaign), where we have had to create numerous labels to help queer people who didn’t fit the cis heterosexual mold feel valid and identified in a world where narrow-minded consciousness has made them feel invalid and invisible for so long. That’s the “politically correct” behavior you wanna get rid of? You wanna restore America to a world where the human beings around you feel scared to be themselves and live and love freely?

Apart from how selfish that is, it is so very un-CHRIST-like, because your God is watching and He knows your hearts and He is aware of the true reason you chose such a human to run the most powerful country in the world, and I promise you the God that I have come to know and love is intolerant of judgment and hatred. And I know this, because I was raised Roman Catholic in a Latin household and went to private Catholic school my whole life so I have studied WAY more than most of you have studied the religion or the Bible for that matter. The ONLY reason is your inability to accept the growing world around you. You chose hatred. Your heart chose to separate yourself as a superior when the only superior in existence in this entire universe is SO much greater than you.

Our “political correctness” that your champion, Donald Trump, so pointedly disregarded throughout his entire campaign and now with the appointment of his advisors and other government officials, is the language we have worked tirelessly to establish to feel safe in a world that never stops reminding us we are minorities. I am a bisexual Cuban-American woman and I am so proud of it. I am proud to be part of a community that only projects love and education and the support of one another. I am proud to be the granddaughter and daughter of immigrants who were brave enough to leave their homes and come to a whole new world with a different language and culture and immerse themselves fearlessly to start a better life for themselves and their families.

I am proud to be a woman. Proud that the sex between my thighs provides a strength and resilience in me that only other women can feel, that my body curves in ways that allow me to create life within me, that my entire life is filled with adversity and doubt and people questioning my intelligence and my artistic potential and my expression of myself and my virtue and honor because I am too much woman. I am proud that I get to prove them all wrong. I am proud that I have to work even harder for it. I was raised to feel that I can do ANYTHING, and I will always believe that. I am proud to feel the whole spectrum of my feelings and I will gladly take the label of “bitch” and “problematic” for speaking my mind the same way any man would be admired and respected for doing. But, I will also extend the fullest hand of compassion and empathy for anyone labeling me as such.

I also know that in my struggle of being a woman I am so very privileged. I was born with a lighter complexion and green eyes (thanks genetics) so from that narrow-minded perspective, I’m white. I have experienced the privilege those genes have granted me, and I am grateful and will continue to speak on behalf of the women around the world and in our very own country who do not experience a fraction of that respect because of the color of their skin or what they choose to wear, or how their hair looks, or how much makeup they have on or any other absurdity that we women are reduced to.

It’s truly disheartening to me to see so many beautiful women who have no idea what their potential is. This election made it blatantly obvious just how many women can’t see it. We have failed ourselves as a nation. We are the example for the world, and we have failed our fellow humans who were watching us with hope that we would not allow hatred to prevail. I have had the privilege of being in a band that has allowed me to travel all over the world. I cannot express the gratitude I have for this experience because it opened my eyes to so many things and has allowed me to view the world from such a simple perspective, a perspective that I understand not very many people have the opportunity to experience.

If I could tell every Trump supporter two things, it would be to travel and read a history book. Look beyond yourselves, look at how petty the morals you uphold seem when you realize we are not the only ones. Realize that your white skin is the result of immigration from Europe, that the only true “Americans” are Native Americans, who are indigenous people that inhabited this land before these conquerors from other countries (England, France, Italy, Spain) wiped them out almost entirely. None of us belong here but all of us deserve the right to feel safe and live our lives in peace. To not have to worry about potentially dying, or being electro-shocked, or beaten, or raped, or emotionally abused because our existence and/or choices for ourselves upset someone else. This is the world Trump is fostering. This is the division that has risen since the beginning of the campaign. We are not America indivisible any longer, we are united on two separate sides; Love and Hatred. We are not “whining” about our presidential choice losing, we are screaming battle cries against those whose political and personal agendas threaten our lives and sanity. We are making sure you hear us, no matter how much it bothers you, we EXIST.

On People.

I understand that, for the most part, those of you who visit this page do it because you like my music.

I’m grateful for that, and try as best as a human being can to not take that for granted.

I also believe part of what you like about my music, at least some of you, is what it communicates, what it articulates, and that it does its best to communicate and articulate those things directly, and, wherever possible, with some degree of empathy, some effort at understanding the irresolute, complicated gray area in and around us, which I believe is scary, and is actually more abundant than life’s scant inarguable certainties, its primary colors supposedly pitched above, below, around.

I feel like I rarely see those, or trust them, and envy people who do.

I’m not an especially political person - I’m a lot more interested in social justice than politics - or an activist in what I consider to be the strict sense of that word.

As far as public figures go, I’m certainly not a celebrity, or anything close.

I’m a person/artist/entertainer with a platform at the corner of a niche, and I try to take that exactly as seriously as it’s to be taken.

I say all that because, what I’m saying here will send some of you away. Simply retweeting news in the past week without editorial commentary has done that already, which is, of course, fine, and doesn’t even rate on the scale of importance given what we’re discussing here.

I’ll be sorry to see you go, but I won’t try to talk you back in.

I’ve felt this way since at least Make The Clocks Move: there is no shortage of songwriters who never address/discuss/acknowledge this stuff, and if listening to one who does, even in roughly 10% of his recorded output, is distasteful to you, I absolutely understand, and we can agree to disagree on what my role’s meant to be, etc.

So:

I come from New York cops. My dad, his dad, two of his brothers, several of my cousins, friends of our family. I love them.

I remember being confused when I fell in love with Nirvana and saw a sticker on Kurt Cobain’s guitar that said, “Vandalism: As Beautiful As A Rock In A Cop’s Face.” I was 12, and I couldn’t square that initially my impressions of my family, and the men & women I’d met through my family. It was a real fraught, dissonant moment. Why would anyone want to throw a rock at my dad’s face?

I grew up some, and found myself realizing why that sticker existed, and empathizing with the rock throwers sometimes. I felt guilty about that, some vague sense of betrayal, an urge to defend police even in situations where their actions seemed excessive, wrong.

It took time to understand more than one thing can be true at the same time.

I don’t believe all cops are “bad.” Some are; some aren’t. They’re People.

But I also don’t believe that is what’s at issue here. Because individual people are never all one thing or another, on a moral or any other scale.

But systems rot, systems mutate, systems corrupt. And, to me, that’s what this is. What’s at issue is the basic value of a human life in an American society that’s gone bad in its prezteling efforts to protect power and privilege at any cost, and when cops are quasi-militarized and deployed to that end, and people end up killed in highly questionable-to-outrageous circumstances as a result, well….that’s “bad.”

Because people of color are also People, and People are scared, and angry, and exhausted. People are tired of seeing their kids, friends, family members killed, hurt, jailed at mind-boggling rates of disproportionality. People are wounded, fed up with seeing power abused, with seeing the gap grow wider between their reality and whatever shreds of the American Dream are left dangling at a distant, increasingly-hypothetical horizon. They’re sick of seeing injustice manifest itself in dead bodies, empty political rhetoric, no follow through, no protection, no change.

I’m a straight white male, and I don’t know what it’s like not to be. I should never be the loudest voice in this conversation. I think we (people like me) all have deep listening to do if we have any hope at making the people who aren’t us feel safe, valued, equal in this society. We have real & increased responsibility to bear as the power brokers, which we are, and have been. Anyone arguing otherwise, suggesting that we’re a “post-racial” society etc., is skirting offensiveness at worst and…sticking to a willful & highly selective understanding of America’s history, at best.

It’s not hard for me to empathize with the outrage of a person who watches their loved one murdered. And it’s not hard for me to empathize theoretically with someone making a catastrophic, fear-based, over-reactionary fight-or-flight error in judgement in the heat of a pitched moment that has violent, horrifying results.

But things don’t happen theoretically, or in a vacuum; they happen in context, bundled in absorbed information, under behavior-warping cultural weight.

And this is why we are where we are. We don’t value all lives the same in this society. And until we do, we’re in trouble, in our streets, in our souls.

There’s no bowtie here, no knot to tie neatly. It’s too brutally, endlessly sad and messy for that. My thoughts, my heart, are with Eric Garner’s family, and focused on the belief in our better nature, even when it is, at times, so difficult to see.

Interview: Jack Fallows

Today we’re joined by Jack Fallows.  Jack is an amazingly talented visual artist.  They were inspired by comics and it shows in their technique.  Their pictures are quite unique and interesting to study.  My thanks to them for taking the time to participate in this interview.

WORK

Please, tell us about your art.

When I was a kid I used to draw really detailed pictures of aliens fighting monsters with super hi-tech weapons and equipment. There were blood and guts everywhere, and somewhere in the background I’d draw the thing that was really bothering me – someone or something at school, usually. Or I’d draw a comic about a kid who had the ability to turn invisible, or to control things with their mind. My art has pretty much just been that mixture of catharsis, revenge fantasy and faint aspiration towards something better over and over again in all kinds of different iterations. But I think I’ve made progress in so far as what I want to say feels like it has a little more foreground in the things I make now, and I’m not quite as petty, and the aspirations aren’t always unrealistic and have helped open some really useful real-world conversations with people. It’s a really amazing coping mechanism that I think everyone has and should look into. The end results are often besides the point after a while.

What inspires you?

Meeting other artists who are interested in art as a fundamentally human thing. Artists who know art is most needed in exactly the places it’s often made unavailable. Artists who have enough perspective to see that their development in their field and the voice they have been able to shape with autonomy and passion is, in fact, a massive privilege. Artists who know that to be professional still just means to serve a slightly different function in a capitalist society ruled by the same rich, white people that rule everything. Artists who are inviting conversation and community and inclusion in their work, not making rehashed statement pieces, or working towards commercial success or pontificating blindly from a tower too high for anyone to hear aside from those who share their platform. Artists who see no point in a circle of people sitting in a room together, passing a message from ear to ear. I’ve had the incredible fortune of meeting many such artists, especially in the last couple of years. They’ve taught me a lot and I’m really grateful to them for being such total babes. These people and other friends inspire me to be a better person, and making more art is how I go about it. 

What got you interested in your field?  Have you always wanted to be an artist?

Reading the Beano and Spiderman got me into comics from the point I could read onwards, and I always made comics alongside reading them. That’s one habit I’ve never broken, I’m proud to say. Listening to REM as a kid made me want to sing and write music. I had my first hit as a 10 year old when I sang and did a dance routine to a song I wrote about myself in the school yard for a few days until everyone got bored of watching. That sense of rejection is probably what spearheaded my increasingly narcissistic musical career. And writing has always been part-and-parcel of making up stories, which is how I would do it at school when I couldn’t draw comics. ‘Have you always wanted to be an artist?’ is an interestingly complicated question. I’m not sure exactly what ‘being an artist’ really means but when it comes to making art, the only sense of longing I tend to have is one to cure myself in some way. Entertaining the idea of being a full-time freelancer is always on and off and I’ve done a little of that too. But that’s a money and time issue and has nothing to do with the art itself (aside from the disconnect between what you want to say and what you’re being paid to say). I can say I’ve always had an intense relationship with art, for whatever that’s worth. Even when I haven’t been as active myself, I’ll still be questing for it. And even when I’m bored with everything, my own work and others’, it’s such an intense boredom I end up having an existential crisis and questioning the meaning of my life. The need for art may have been left undiscovered if not for my privilege (my Dad having enough to buy me new comics on the weekend, my parents and school generally being supportive enough of my art to help me improve etc.) and I’d probably have fallen through the cracks in the same way many members of the community I grew up in did, had I not been so privileged. Art literally saved my life and continues to, regularly. That’s what keeps me interested in my field. 

Do you have any kind of special or unique signature, symbol, or feature you include in our work that you’d be willing to reveal?

I draw myself a lot but that’s a fairly easy one to spot. Mostly I try to be as upfront as possible these days but I did do this whole comic series called The Big Bang (nothing to do with that piece of shit show that laugh-tracked an acephobic joke (and before it reached us in the UK)) which was very much about hiding things in the background and being subtle enough with the art so that people would be forced to go back and double check stuff. But it all felt really phony after a while. I put out three issues and had the script ready to go for the fourth and final part before I threw the towel in on it. I like to draw in symbols used by political movements I support as background detail in my comics sometimes but it’s not typically integral to the story, just aesthetic afterthought.

What advice would you give young aspiring artists?

You’re in a unique position to start challenging the bullshit you’ll be taught about art in school while it’s happening to you, and to grow stronger in its adversity; seize that. Make exactly what you need to make in order to connect with those you feel estranged from, or those you want to call in or those you want to support, celebrate or protect. Ignore everything and everyone else forever. Your art is your own, it deserves to take up space like everyone else’s. Grades are meaningless, many people’s perspectives will also be meaningless to you. 

ASEXUALITY

Where on the spectrum do you identify?

I’m panromantic demisexual. My attraction to others rarely has anything to do with gender but certain learned, gendered behaviours do feel threatening and uncomfortable for me. The attraction is always firstly an interest in a person, minus the hypothetical prospect of sex, and most often that’s where it remains. Where I have felt sexually attracted to others, it has been an extension of an already existing intimacy with them. One night stands or we-ought-to-because-it’s-the-third-date type sexual narratives have left me feeling very alienated and empty in the past. Beginning to throw away the performative elements of my life has given me perspective and helped me listen to what I really want, which is different for everyone. Should note here that I totally support (and include in ‘everyone’) people having as many one-night stands or following as many socio-sexual codes as they like, so long as it’s consensual. Having labels like these just helps me feel grounded when being true to myself becomes an isolating experience. It’s a nice reminder you have a community scattered around out there.

Have you encountered any kind of ace prejudice or ignorance in your field?  If so, how do you handle it?

I’ve mostly just encountered flippancy or the kind of no-questions-asked acceptance that someone who wants to appear accepting of everyone always gives, while simultaneously waving away your problems like you won’t find any with them. Which hardly sound like problems at all but when you’re trying to open a dialogue with people, it can feel really frustrating. The best reactions I’ve had are the ones where people have asked really blunt and problematically phrased questions because at least there’s somewhere to go from there. That’s a person who has put themself in a position to learn and grow, whatever their intention might have been when they started reacting to my work. I also entirely acknowledge my failing as an artist to stimulate these questions (probably 90% of the problem). But there are always going to be people too far gone down the rabbit hole of heteronormative propaganda to have meaningful conversations with. We just have to hope some other learning opportunity forces its way into their life and steers them back towards the light. When you’re that buried and polarised, you’re not ready to digest anything new, you’re just ready to fight. I’m learning to recognise that in the different audiences to which I’ve brought my work, and separating out the places where there’s fuel for my practice and the ones that would just extinguish the flame a little bit.

What’s the most common misconception about asexuality that you’ve encountered?

Definitely the whole trauma / haven’t-met-the-right-person-yet narrative; it’s like a disease with certain people that they always know your life better than you. I’m not saying I don’t give people cause to think I’m delusional but when it comes to matters of the self, there is literally no one in a position to decide what you are except you. I even put out a zine on abuse, asexuality and agender identity so I could draw the links between them and show they are not in a cause-and-effect reactionary relationship to one another. Any of the hate and disrespect that faces queer folks is so frustratingly transparent. When someone says anything that could fall under the category of ‘coming out’, we need to see it as the act of compassion that it is. People just can’t see you’re reaching out to them, trying to share an intimate part of yourself with them, a part you want to nurse into full health while the world batters it to bits. Whether it’s in the form of art or music or a conversation over coffee. If you just listen and ask questions, you’ll discover new and amazing dimensions to the people around you; there’s no cause to be scared or angry about that, no matter how much you’ve been socialised to think so. Honest! 

What advice would you give to any asexual individuals out there who might be struggling with their orientation?

Remember labels are just new language. While we grow up as a species and learn new things about each other and ourselves, we feel the need to create words so we can communicate more effectively and build communities and systems of support to help us with things that make us feel alone. Whether or not you’ve found a word you think describes you is kind of irrelevant – there will be people out there who feel like you, and you’ll find them in the most diverse set of places. A word will pop up eventually, but meanwhile the world gets to know you in 3D and that’s really cool. It would be great if the others who share your orientation were all just like you, and into all the same things you are, and hung out where you like to hang out, or worked where you work or went to your school. But more likely they’ll just be people who you have as much chance of getting along with as a random stranger you brush past when you step off the train. You don’t have to be around other ace-spectrum folks to feel safe and loved, feeling like that starts with loving and accepting the things that have made you feel different up until now, and celebrating them. If you find a word you can add to a bio or use as a conversation starter along the way then that’s obviously great but it’s far from essential. You’re great, you’re irreplaceable and the way you appreciate the people around you is just as valuable as anyone else’s. If you meet someone who disagrees they just aren’t paying attention.

Finally, where can people find out more about your work?

I have a Tumblr: http://jackfallows.tumblr.com, which has links to my art, music and ace awareness stuff. My friend CJ puts out my print work at Black Lodge Press http://blacklodgepress.etsy.com – or if you’re into swaps, send me an e-mail: jack@jackfallows.com or come find me at a comic con or a show in the UK and we’ll hang out! <3

Thank you so much, Jack, for participating in this interview and this project.  It’s very much appreciated.