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Racism Row Over DC’s Muslim Superhero

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From Comics Alliance:

“Another day, another racist freakout over non-white superheroes. But unlike the hilariously dishonest racism we saw when the Council of Conservative Citizens called for a boycott of Marvel’s Thor movie on account of a mythical Norse god’s depiction as a black man, a recent round of conservative attacks on Nightrunner — DC’s Muslim Batman of Paris — are prejudicial in a more insidious way. While the CCC put forth a laughably tenuous justification for their outrage, it was with respect to one specific character in one specific context. The argument against Nightrunner, led by conservative blogger Warner Todd Huston, is based on the bigoted belief that a Muslim superhero is by definition an exercise in deceitful political correctness, and that Muslims are natively evil.

Introduced in this month’s Detective Comics Annual #12 and Batman Annual #28, Nightrunner is a 22-year-old Algerian Muslim who’s lived in Paris his entire life (it seems reasonable to assume he was born in France, but at the very least he was raised there).

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The Mysterious Death of MI6 Agent Gareth Wiliams

Gareth WilliamsThe circumstances surrounding the murder of MI6 agent Gareth Williams grow more mysterious. Williams was found dead, locked inside a sports bag, at his home in London in August. It is believed that his death may have been the result of a sex game gone wrong, and artefacts found in the flat suggested to the police that Williams was gay. His family deny those claims, but the police are now trying to contact a male/female couple through bondage websites for more info. Vikram Dodd writes in the Guardian:

Senior detectives believe the mystery death of the spy Gareth Williams will be solved by getting an insight into his private life after they revealed he had visited bondage websites and a drag club and had £15,000-worth of unworn designer womenswear in his wardrobe.

Williams’s decomposed body was discovered in a padlocked holdall in his flat, less than a mile from MI6 headquarters in London where he was a senior analyst.… Read the rest

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Charles Dickens’ Scrooge – A Victorian Shaman?

Marley's Ghost-John Leech, 1843The Fortean Times has a very interesting analysis of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”  by Guy Reid-Brown, in which he investigates the possible mystical/shamanic inspiration for the classic Christmas story:

No doubt as this Advent comm­ences, I, and many others, will be re-reading Charles Dickens’s 1843 seasonal classic  “A Christmas Carol” for the umpteenth time. Those of us who have fallen under its spell will doubtless continue to do so every year, even if we live to be as old as the oldest Biblical patriarch, and each time with the same degree of emotion – whether it be delight, wonder or sadness -– as the times before.

In any other context, such behaviour might be interpreted as borderline obsessive, but that simply doesn’t apply here. Ponder this for a moment: there are few other works in Western literat­ure that have enjoyed such a breadth and variety of adaptations across all media.

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