“Johnnie Phelps, a woman sergeant in the army, thought, “There was a tolerance for lesbianism if they needed you. The battalion I was in was probably about ninety-seven percent lesbian.”
Sergeant Phelps worked for General Eisenhower. Four decades after Eisenhower had defeated the Axis powers, Phelps recalled an extraordinary event. One day, the general told her, “I’m giving you an order to ferret those lesbians out. We’re going to get rid of them.”
“I looked at him and then I looked at his secretary who was standing next to me, and I said, ‘Well, sir, if the general pleases, sir, I’ll be happy to do this investigation for you. But you have to know that the first name on the list will be mine.’ “
“And he was kind of taken aback a bit. And then this women standing next to me said, ‘Sir, if the General pleases, you must be aware that Sergeant Phelp’s name may be second, but mine will be first.”
“Then I looked at him, and said, ‘Sir, you’re right. They’re lesbians in the WAC battalion. And if the general is prepared to replace all the file clerks, all the section commanders, all the drivers-every woman in the WAC detachment-and there were about nine hundred and eighty something of us-then I’ll be happy to make that list. But I think the general should be aware that among those women are the most highly decorated women in the war. There have been no cases of illegal pregnancy. There have been no cases of AWOL. There have been no cases of misconduct. And as a matter of fact, every six months since we’ve been here, the general has awarded us a commendation for meritorious conduct.”
“And he said, ‘Forget the order.’””—
Phelps tells this story herself in the excellent 1984 documentary Before Stonewall, which you can watch in its entirety on YouTube (she’s at 19:30, but really, watch the whole thing): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kX7AxQd82H8
I have a fierce, unwavering loyalty for Amanda Waller (which ftr is not the same thing as believing she is usually correct).
This is what I tell people who disagree with me:
Amanda Waller is Reverse Batman, okay, stripped entirely of the rich dude noblesse oblige. She starts out stashed away out of mind in the Chicago Cabrini-Green projects. And there she loses half her family - two kids and her husband - and goes from “poor” to “homeless with young children”.
And she climbed out of *that* hole with her fingernails and teeth, and got her babies enough of a headstart to be adults on their own terms, and went like: No.
This shit is unacceptable. The world is going to be a better place, or else.
Ah, but the villains in this world are a banal, cowardly lot. She must be able to strike terror into their hearts. She must become a creature of the shadows, black, terrible…
Ann Druyan, “Cosmos” creator and widow of Carl Sagan, on science vs. religion—and men getting credit for her work
I’ve been really irritated by all the articles about NDT and the new Cosmos that never mention Druyan as the writer AT ALL. They’re all acting like the show is all Tyson but, in fact - as much as I adore him, and I do - HE DID NOT WRITE THE SHOW.
This morning DC Comics unveiled a respin/refresh of the Batgirl book. Gail Simone who has been the main writer on the book for the past three years is leaving. Cameron Stewart, mainly known by DC readers as an artist, will co-write along with Brenden Fetcher who is also co-writing Gotham Academy. Art is by Babs Tarr bringing a new full-time female artist onto DC Comics just as Nicola Scott has announced she’s leaving the publisher.
Just last week I wrote about the announcement of Gotham Academy and wondered if it finally meant that DC is targeting female readers. This week we see this Batgirl respin that I have been told by sources close to the book is aiming for the female audience.
The “refreshed” Batgirl has a new costume, new town and will have a new supporting cast although some of her current cast including Alysia Yeoh will be seen. The costume is very cool if you haven’t seen it.
Given the house style that is preferred by senior management at DC Comics (i.e. Jim Lee and David Finch) it is a treat to see an artist as different as Babs Tarr on-board at DC Comics.
The book’s creators said in the official PR interview that the book mixes the best elements of “Veronica Mars” and “Girls,” with a dash of “Sherlock” thrown in for good measure.” And the tone?
"We really wanted to make this a book with a light tone, of fun and adventure and mystery, and let the rest of the Bat-family deal with the darkness. She’s got problems, and conflict, and enemies to fight, but our priority was to make this a really fun, rollicking read."
I haven’t read the current Batgirl run except for the previews and my feeling and of those that have read it, is that it was a fairly dark book that reflected Dan Didio’s statement about the Batfamily last year
"They put on a cape and cowl for a reason. They’re committed to defending others — at the sacrifice of all their own personal instincts. That’s something we reinforce. If you look at every one of the characters in the Batman family, their personal lives kind of suck…
Tim Drake, Barbara Gordon, and Kathy Kane — it’s wonderful that they try to establish personal lives, but it’s also just as important that they put it aside as they know what they are accomplishing as the hero takes precedence over everything else. That is our mandate, that is our edict, that is our stand with our characters.”
So now we have a book with a young Batgirl that has a lighter tone and is likened to Veronica Mars … just as we did three years ago with Bryan Q. Miller’s run on Batgirl.
If DC comics is seriously interested in gaining new female readers, particularly younger ones, this book may not be the key but it is damn close. Gail Simone has often said that Birds to Prey is an on-ramp into comics for women. I took that on-ramp and agree. I think that this version of Batgirl* can do the same thing for a younger female audience.
That post outlined a series of ways Batgirl could be used to outreach to female readers and to my non-surprise absolutely nothing remotely like any of of those ways were pursued.
Given Marvel’s success with Ms. Marvel, I’m not surprised to see DC offer up a book with a similar feel. (But I do wish they could have realized they had it three years ago and without ditching Stephanie Brown as Batgirl and Barbara Gordon as Oracle).
I hope that both books are great and do great. If they are could lead to more books that aren’t grim and gritty and targeted to the “core” audience of males but rather hit that growing demographic.
STUMPTOWN returns as an ongoing book in September and it’s now featured in the July issue of PREVIEWS from onipress! Couldn’t be more excited to be working on this book and looking forward to getting it into your collective hands.
Things never go according to plan for Dex Parios—it doesn’t matter whether it’s work or play. When a weekend of soccer fun (both playing and watching!) turns ugly, it’s up to Dex to get to the bottom of the violence before a heated rivalry transforms into an all out war!
It’s got them Ryan Hillbo Baggins colors, so you know it’s gon’ be good!
GO AND GET ORDER NOW PLEASE YES GOOD THANK YOU SOCCER DEX PORTLAND RCTID LITTLE FISHING VILLAGE TO THE NORTH VIOLENCE GUNS DEX HAS SEX JUSTIN DRAWS GREAT THE MUSTANG MAY SURVIVE CK IS BADASS YOU DON’T KNOW WHO SHE IS AND ANSEL IS ADORKABLE.