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James D.

The "Good news, everyone!" thread

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Been a good day. Kellen gets a job, Jets make the playoffs. Now just need to worry about waking up for an 8:30 training class after having regularily slept until 12PM most of the last 3 months. Goodie.

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So I'll be going to Japan for the first time (well, other than layovers during flights to and from the US) tomorrow. Bit nervous, but I'm hoping to have a great time.

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Whilst it would be weird to go on holiday and NOT hope you had a great time whilst there, I also hope you have a great time! Personally, I'm too lazy to learn a smattering of the Japanese language and it's a hell of a long way away from the UK, so I'm unlikely to go, but from what I hear, it's lovely!

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So from 2011-2014 I was a panelist on the Spider-Man Crawlspace Podcast. I had been writing reviews for a few years before and the Crawlspace was the first podcast I ever listened to. in January of '14 I and a few others left for reasons I won't get into, halving the staff of the website.

Since then the website has reported on numerous topics concerning race in Spider-Man in a way I really did not appreciate. Whether it was about a black actor being cast as Peter Parker or talking about Miles Morales, the general reporting style was to my mind a very reactionary, short-sighted and grossly racially biased voice that would disregard considerations of any opposing opinions and would be dismissive of any alternative ways of approaching the topic for the sake of the other perspective.

So a couple of weeks ago I requested to come back on the podcast for a serious discussion on the subject of race as it pertains to Spider-Man. I felt that if I didn't do this it would never be done and no voice that came from a non-white perspective would get properly represented on that site. The podcast has a very sizable audience, so I knew if I could get one person to at least stop and think critically, I would have done my job. So in the lead-up to the recording, I spent every waking moment reading, writing and thinking about race in comics from every which angle. Changing a character's race, introducing Legacy characters of a different race, the non-white characters who already existed and their impact. It's the hardest I've ever prepped for a podcast.

So we recorded Monday and the episode dropped late Tuesday night. I've gotten a few personal messages from people saying they enjoyed my presence on the episode and that it made them think which was victory enough. But the webmaster Brad forwarded an e-mail to me which really made me feel like I accomplished what I set out to do, and to never doubt myself when acting on the will to affect change for something that needs it.

"Hi Brad,

Thank you so much for giving podcast time to a discussion of race. And more important, thank you for bringing in Donovan to discuss it with the cast.

Lately, I have felt marginalized by the Spider-Man community over the topic of whether Peter could ever be portrayed by a non-white actor. As a brown person, it destroys me to even think that this would be an issue. Just imagine if someone told you that you or someone like you couldn't be Spider-Man because you're white.These are not good feelings, and they privilege one section of fandom while ignoring the others. Worse, vocal sections of the internet denigrate non-white people for even wanting a Peter Parker of another race. This is not okay.

I stopped listening to Crawlspace a few months ago because discussions about race--without a person of color to give some perspective--seemed to be getting more frequent. This can be especially damaging if race is discussed haphazardly or dismissively. It's a lot like being told by your doctor what's best for you before they even ask what the problem is. But nonetheless these discussions were happening on Crawlspace, and what had seemed like a safe place for me on the internet now gave me a stomach-churning, visceral reaction.So I quit.

But I happened to look at the site by chance today, and I saw the podcast on race. This surprised me, and I was glad to see the panel acknowledge that it is an issue. And again, I cannot thank you enough for making the effort to include Donovan. It shows that you are serious about understanding the issue, and it was enough to bring me back. Listening to other people and hearing out their complaints is the only way that we can address inequality, and it gladdens me to know that you're taking this step. I wish Donovan could come back full time, but I imagine he has other obligations.

Thank you for understanding the need to hear people out.

Best, [the e-mailer]"

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And as a followup to my post from 5 days ago, I did have a wonderful time in Japan. It was too short, but hey that leaves some stuff for next time, whenever that would be.

First day was a guided tour of Tokyo, which was alright, got a good idea of the city. Second day was Tokyo Disneyland, didn't enjoy it too much because it was way too hot and crowded outside. PSA, if you're planning to go to a theme park, go when the elements aren't conspiring to destroy you. Oh and I got to ride Star Tours, which was really fun. Third day was just for shopping, and I got my cousins stuff that they wanted, like anime figures. I was happy to find sets of Heisei and Millennium-era Godzilla postcards. (They make excellent bookmarks or mini posters for the shelves)

Several circumstances make it unlikely to actually happen, but I'd like to imagine myself living there, with a couple friends, relatives or whoever. Something about the place just speaks to me. Maybe it's vacation goggles. Maybe it's me being an introvert, and the culture seems to encourage that. Who knows. So yeah, thanks for indulging me for a bit there, people of the forums.

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Almost one week to the hour that I moved down to Chicago, I officially have a job that pays leagues better than anything I ever got in Madison, with chances for things like raises and advancement. And the move itself came together amazingly. This was the right thing to do.

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Feeling dissatisfied with my current gig at my restaurant, I walked into the other good joint in town for an application and walked out with a new job.

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As of tonight, I've been down in Chicago for a month. I've got a steady job with a good paycheck. I have a place to stay, and just signed a lease. I've got great friends. I have a boyfriend (that we just made it FB official oh god now our families are gonna find out aaaaaaaaa).

This was the right move to make.

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