Tuesday, April 24, 2018

The Case for Veganism (Is Not What You Think)

I have good news, and bad news.

They're the same news.

The world is a lot smaller than you thought it was.


You might find this really comforting because the world is terrifyingly huge. You shouldn't. You live in a Matrix-like illusion of choice. When you turn on the TV, but the truth is, you're getting what's fed to you and it's probably from the same source even if you have 800 stations including ESPN Ocho.

Remember how earlier I said, "they're the same news?" Well, I meant that literally.

Recently a story broke about "local" news being... not so local.  And people acted shocked, the same way they did when they discovered that Taco Bell tacos are not, in fact, 100% grade-A beef, but that the $1 taco they were buying drunk at 2 am was actually 40% soy.

"Next you'll tell me that a Doritos Loco Quesorito Taco isn't authentically Mexican!"

Here's the thing. You have less choices than you realized, yet you still do have a choice. In the grocery store, there's only 10 real brands.

Which is 4 more than there are media corporations so, hey, technically more choice!

When you choose X over Y, you are sending a message. A tiny one. A scroll in a bottle in an ocean. But still. A message.

And I like to believe that I'm making some tiny difference and that if enough people did the same thing, they might manage to make a change. People in numbers can direct corporate policy.

When everyone lost their shit about IKEA meatballs have horse in them, for example, IKEA shaped up. (By the way, there's fundamentally no difference between a horse and cow, meat-wise. They're both edible animals. Get over it, meat-eaters.)

So this brings me to what this post is about: the case for veganism.

Since people often find vegans preachy and annoying, I would like to make an argument that is not about the morality of eating or killing animals, but an argument for saving the planet. Remember how I said earlier that it's smaller than we think it is? Well... that means we should all have a vested interest in helping the planet. And that might mean cutting back our meat consumption.

In order for this post to be fun despite its themes of environmentalism, the rest of the pictures I post in between hard-hitting statistics will just be pictures of Iron Man gorging himself on bad food.

Ha ha Tony likes donuts.

So.  The factory farm system. Bad for animals, bad for workers, bad for the environment. Small family farms are fine, but most meat (we're talking 98, 99%) comes from a system that's profit-based and does not give a shit about the well-being of any living creature... including human consumers and employees.

Putting aside the fact that slaughterhouse workers are underpaid, working long hours at stressful jobs that cause repetitive strain injuries, and putting aside the fact that processed red meat causes cancer, meat begins hurting us before we ever put a bolt gun to the cow's head.

Ha ha Tony and his blueberries.

Cows emit tons and tons of methane. They are farting, burping methane machines.

And that's just the cows themselves, hanging out on feedlots.  That doesn't include the carbon footprint left by the housing facilities, the meat processing plants, the refrigeration or shipping of the meat.  Producing 1 calorie of beef protein requires 78 calories of fossil fuel, 1 calorie of pork takes 35 calories of fossil fuel and 1 calorie of chicken takes 22 calories of fossil fuel.  Meanwhile, soybeans need about two.

Environmentally speaking, chicken is way better than beef, but reducing intake of both is better still.

Chicken comes from factory farm warehouses with HUGE carbon footprints.

Pizza > chicken.

Factory farms are very efficient at "growing" animals.  The problem is, because this has made meat so cheap, along with subsidies, factory farms produce a lot more chickens that would be produced using more "natural" methods and demand is higher, because the chicken is cheaper. It also means all the waste from the chickens is concentrated in one place, so locally it has a pretty nasty environmental impact.

According to the EPA, any warehouse-style livestock facilities is capable of emitting 25,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year, and their emission report requirements apply to both swine plants and poultry plants.

Environmentally, the issue isn't just the methane that the animals are producing, but the anaerobic waste lagoons produced by the farms themselves and the massive amounts of carbon produced by the warehouses where you have fans running continuously to circulate air to the chickens. The more animals you try to pack into a smaller and smaller space, the more artificial the environment becomes, and the more energy is required to maintain livable conditions.

It goes without saying that a backyard chicken coop doesn't need a waste lagoon or a huge, energy-consuming fan or any of the other things a warehouse does.  So while less efficient, "homesteading" your animal products tends to be more environmentally friendly.

Shameless plug for the chicken coop Andy made!

You might think eliminating red meat and only eating chicken and fish is enough, but honestly, it's better to cut back on meat as a whole and maintain a varied diet.

Wait a second did I just say fish?

Yeah, that's right.  Up to one in five fish at your local supermarket is labeled incorrectly.  And don't get me started on shrimp.

For info on how shrimp are bad for the environment, check out this report in Reuters 
or this (slightly more biased one) from The Mangrove Project.

In short, my argument for veganism is this.  People are over-consuming meat and they are literally killing themselves doing that.  (See my previous post on nutrition and dieting.)  But people, as a species, are also overconsuming meat and killing themselves, as a species.  We are killing the planet we live on, and we're doing it for shitty One Dollar Menu burgers.

 I sorta feel like all these posts of Tony Stark eating himself stupid are having diminishing returns.

The best case I have for veganism is not the humane and ethical treatment of animals, nor the health benefits, although these are both really great arguments.  The argument I present today is for the continuation of life on earth itself.

Okay, well.  You know what?  That's fair.  That's honest.  Some people lack the willpower to go vegan and that's okay.  We are, after all, creatures of habit.  So, if the thing stopping you is just plain ol' human foibles, then try to at least cut back, do a Meatless Monday thing or something.

Buy local if possible. Support small family farms; buy from farmer's markets; go to butcher shops, if you can find them, instead of chain grocery markets. If local isn't an option, then at least try to get meat labeled as "free range."

Free range usually means "not in a warehouse." Don't confuse this with "cage free." A chicken that is "cage free" might still be in a warehouse. Animals that have access to an outdoor area mean that there is less dependence on a warehouse with artificial lights, climate control, and air circulation, all of which contribute to the facility's carbon footprint.

Buying local also means that less carbon was produced in order to ship the meat to you. Factory farms generate a lot of carbon by shipping animals to slaughtering plants and then shipping the meat from the slaughtering plant to the grocery store. Locally produced and processed meat probably traveled a lot less... meaning not only is there less carbon emitted in its transport, but it's also likely fresher!

What else can you, a tiny insignificant blip on the planet, a grain of sand on the shore, do?  Try these:

  • Be energy efficient. This benefits you, as a person without much money, and also benefits the environment by reducing your carbon footprint. 
  • Keep lights off during the day; use air conditioning minimally; wash your clothes in cold water, not hot. Get energy efficient bulbs. Take short showers. Energy efficiency saves you money and is also good for the environment. 
  •  Reduce your meat intake if you can't eliminate it. Most animal products come from factory farms, which are bad for the environment. 
  • Likewise, reduce egg and dairy consumption if you can't entirely eliminate them, and buy local when possible.
  • Don't buy or use aerosols.
  • If you're using plastic products, try to get biodegradable ones. Reduce plastic product use as much as possible. Cut the rings on plastic things.
  • Reduce Styrofoam use. Biggest offender is probably take-out containers. If you can't compost it, don't use it.
  • Reduce car use. Take public transit if you can, bike, walk, carpool. This saves you money as well because you're using less gas. It depends on where you live.
  • Study what plants are native to your area. If you garden, only plant native, non-invasive plants. Don't use pesticides.
  • Buy local as much as possible. Try to buy clothes and food that was produced locally; shipping means a bigger carbon footprint. Locally produced items aren't necessarily more expensive. Do your research on what companies you support; treat every dollar you spend as a vote for business practices.
  • Reuse. Buy your clothes second-hand; go to the thrift store BEFORE buying new. This reduces consumption of resources.
  • If you drink coffee or tea, get a travel mug. Stop buying paper cups. Don't buy bottled water; get an aluminum water bottle. Bring your own bags to the grocery store. Any time you find yourself using a consumable resource, ask yourself if there's a reusable alternative. A lot of places give kickbacks for this; for example, at Dunkin' Donuts, you can get a travel mug refilled with coffee for less than buying a large coffee in the disposable cup.
  • Volunteer with Adopt-a-Highway or a similar program to remove trash from the environment.
  • Help pollinators like bees! Even if you live in an apartment or flat, you can plant a little flower and put it out on your porch. A quick Google search will tell you what plants you can grow to help out the bees. (I live in a duplex and have 3 potted plants on my porch that are bee-friendly.) (They've always attracted hummingbirds, which is pretty cool.)
  • Avoid products with palm oil, especially cosmetics.
  • Don't get drawn in by buzzwords. If something is "green," run a quick Google search to check just how "green" it really is.

As Tony says to Peter Park in Spiderman: Homecoming, " So you wanna look out for the little guy. You wanna do your part. Make the world a better place all that, right?"  This is your chance, folks.

And, the #1 thing you can do is to educate yourself.  Knowing what is good and bad for the environment, as well as what you should put into your body, and researching what to avoid and what products do the least damage to the environment, is HUGE. Most people aren't intentionally creating huge carbon footprints; they just don't know better. Any product you buy, use, consume... RESEARCH IT.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

My Frozen 2 Plot Ideas (Pay Attention, Disney)

Back in 2015, Disney officially announced that they're making Frozen 2, but they have been cagey with details.  Here we are, three years later, and so far the only story I saw was a speculative piece on how Elsa might be a lesbian.

 Because women without boyfriends are obviously lesbians.
Which is why in Justice League, they had to establish that Diana was still upset about Trevor, 
even though she barely knew him and a century had passed. Guuurl get over it.

Since Disney might just be winging it and hoping to God that a script falls into their lap for Frozen 2, I would like to humbly propose my own idea of what Frozen 2 should look like.

Frozen centers around the idea of familial, sororal love as opposed to Disney's traditional romantic heterosexual love.  I think the Frozen franchise should continue to explore those themes of friendship and familial non-romantic love.  Here's my proposed ideas for Frozen 2.

You can just send me my Oscar for Best Animated in the mail, thanks.


Anna and Christof are in a relationship but Elsa has her doubts. She is protective of her little sister and fears that Christof isn't good enough for Anna. After all, he's not even royalty! But after Anna is kidnapped by the Duke of Weaselton, who plans to ransom her to force Elsa to re-instate trade between Weaselton and Arendelle, Elsa and Christof are forced to team up to save her. They discover that the Duke has an older brother who was locked away due to his powers, just like Elsa was as a child. Can Elsa, Christof, Sven, and Olaf free the rightful ruler of Weaselton and rescue Anna? In this sequel, Elsa learns to let loose and have fun from Christof, and Christof learns a thing or two about refinement from Elsa.

Why it would work:
  • Elsa gets more screentime.
  • It examines a male-female relationship that is not romantic.
  • It examines the idea of two opposite personalities learning to get along, compromise, cooperate, and appreciate each other while maintaining their own identities.
  • It resolves the trade dispute between Arendelle and Weaselton.
  • Sven meets a female reindeer.
  • Olaf lets Sven take his carrot nose to give to the girl reindeer. He spends the rest of the movie trying out various new noses.
  • When Sigvard, the rightful heir to Weaselton, is coronated and the Duke is locked away, they resume trade with Arendelle. Their main export? Carrots

What, what?

Script Samples:

[Scene 1: In which Elsa expresses her concerns.]

[Proposed musical number: "He's a Very Ice Guy."]

ANNA: Isn't he wonderful, Elsa?

[Elsa glances at Christof. He is cleaning out his ear with a pinkie. He removes his finger from his ear and examines it.]

ELSA: ...I don't know, Anna. He's a bit... rough.

ANNA: Elsa, what is your problem with Christof? He's a great guy, and he's perfect for me! Don't you see that?

[Elsa glances at Christof again. Now he's aggressively scratching his head like a dog.]

ELSA: ...I just feel like he's... a bit... well, he's not like us, Anna. I mean, he's the ice delivery guy, and we don't even need ice. He didn't grow up in a castle. He doesn't understand.

ANNA: He understands me.  Isn't that what really matters?

ELSA: I just want what's best for you.

ANNA: And that's Christof! Please, Elsa. Trust me.

[Elsa looks at Christof. He is examining a fancy vase. He pokes it, and it wobbles. He awkwardly tries to right it.]

ELSA: ...okay. Just... think about it, Anna. You're a princess, and that comes with a lot of responsibility.

[Off-screen, there's a shattering noise. The girls turn to Christof, who whistles innocently and shoves the pieces of the vase behind the vase's stand with his foot.]

[SCENE 2: Anna is captured.]

[Proposed musical number: "A Sister Would Cross the Ocean."]

ANNA (in a cell): My sister will find me! You'll never get away with this!

DUKE (outside the cell): I already have!

[He laughs evilly. The camera pans out to show the ship they're on, gliding silently away from Arendelle on still water beneath a full moon.]

[Scene 3: In which Christof and Elsa scale the tower.]

[Proposed musical number: "No Ladder Like the Present!"]

ELSA, hopelessly: There's no way to the top!

CHRISTOF: There's got to be.

[He thinks.]

CHRISTOF (snapping his fingers through a mitten): An ice ladder! Make an ice ladder, Elsa!

ELSA: An ice ladder?! Christof, that would never work. I can't make an ice ladder. And how did you snap your fingers through that mitten?

CHRISTOF (grabbing her shoulders): There's no time to explain! If you can make a castle, you can make an ice ladder. You can do it, Elsa! Do it for your sister!

[Elsa looks hesitant, but the music swells and she knows she can do it. CUT TO: Elsa is climbing a ladder of ice.]

ELSA (gleefully): This was a great idea!

[The camera pans sharply down. Christof is shivering ferociously and trying to rub his hands together for warmth.]

CHRISTOF: T-t-this was a t-t-terrible idea.

[Scene 4: In which Elsa, Anna, and Christof convince Sigvard to come out of his tower.]

[Proposed musical number 1: "See, This Is Why Feudalism Doesn't Work."]
[Proposed musical number 2: "She's Different, But Not a Lesbian."]

ANNA: He's the Duke's brother. He's the rightful heir to the throne.

[In the shadows, an older man sits hunched.]

ELSA: ...is this true?

SIGVARD (voice quavering): It's true that I am the first-born, and was the next in line for the throne. But I cannot be king. I... I am... a monster.

[The chair he sits in begins to grow frost.]

ELSA (shocked): He's... he's like me.

CHRISTOF: You're not a monster! You're just... different. And so's Elsa, and she's a great ruler!

[Elsa looks touched.]

SIGVARD: No. No... I... I cannot take the throne. The people of Weaselton deserve better.

ANNA: Better like the Duke? Sigvard, it's a mess out there! Ever since he seized control, he's been taxing them more than they can bear, and destroying all your trade relations! Your kingdom needs you!

[She approaches him, but is blown back by an icy wind.]

SIGVARD: Stay back! Please! I... I don't want to hurt you!

[Elsa steps forward.]

ELSA (quietly): You can't hurt me.

[Elsa goes to him and takes his hand. Both their hands are quickly enveloped in frost.]

ELSA: I used to be scared too. I used to hide too. But I learned to control my powers. Sigvard, we can help you.

[Sigvard looks up at her, not quite daring to hope.]

SIGVARD: But what if I hurt someone?

ANNA (touching the white lock in her hair): You just have to trust yourself, Sigvard. It'll be okay. We'll help.

[Scene 5: Olaf's new nose; Olaf gives Sven a carrot to give to his new romantic interest.]

[Proposed musical number: "Reindeer Games."]

ANNA: ...is that an old boot?

OLAF (adjusting his boot): It sure is!

CHRISTOF: Does it work?

OLAF: It smells!

Crazy M. Night Shamalamadingdong twist:

Disney, if you are REALLY committed to the subplot of someone being gay, instead of making it Elsa, make it Sven. He can spend the whole subplot trying to impress, seduce, and get the "female" reindeer to notice him.  He's smitten.  That other reindeer is a hottie.

And at the very end, when the reindeer speaks, he realizes it was a guy reindeer all along.

 [Proposed musical number: "Female Reindeers Have Antlers Too, Seriously, Google It"]

Congrats, Sven, it was a trap and you're gay now!  Or maybe you're just learning something new about yourself!  And meanwhile the kids just learned a fun fact about reindeer in general!  Everyone is a winner!

Disney, you've done it again!

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Three Short Horror Stories Featuring Four-Legged Friends

Since I've started writing and editing writing for money, I've found I've had less time to write just for fun.

(Don't worry, though, blog, I won't neglect you anymore, I promise.)

But back when I was working as a scientist and actually contributing meaningfully to society, I really enjoyed writing short scary stories as a hobby.  I like writing horror stories because, just like constructing a joke, they require a punchline at the end, which can be challenging.

It's been a while since I wrote anything that fits neatly into the traditional horror genre; happily, going back, I was pleased to see that my little hobby stories held up okay.  The following are from two to three years ago.

If you're interested in what I've been doing lately, I did churn out an Iron Man novel called Divergence, which you can read here. You should read it.  Not to brag but I think it's pretty good and so does everyone who has read it.

But wait.   This post was supposed to be about pet-themed horror, not Iron Man.

Without further ado, before I can get distracted again... I present below 3 of my old little just-for-fun horror blurbs.  Enjoy!


Someone called to tell me they’d found my dog.

It was a pretty standard phone call. The lady’s voice was mild and unassuming. Her exact words were, “I found your dog.”

Normally I would be ecstatic. I used to get intensely anxious anytime the dog wandered off, imagining him streaking into oncoming traffic in pursuit of a squirrel.

But I didn’t feel ecstatic this time. I felt perplexed and a little unnerved. I knew exactly where my dog was. My dog was buried in the corner of the garden under the mountain ash tree.

“You must have the wrong number,” I say.

“I’m calling the number on the poster.”

Poster? There haven’t been posters in almost three years, since Baxter succumbed to renal failure at the ripe old age of fourteen.

“You must be mistaken,” I say, still not sure how to handle the situation.

“I can send you a photo if you like,” she says. And before I have time to tell her that’s not necessary, and that I don’t even have a dog, she hangs up. I get a picture from her moments later. It’s small on the screen of my phone, but unmistakable. That’s Baxter, all right. Baxter was (is?) a border collie, but I couldn’t have mistaken him for any other border collie. Not in a million years. In the photo, I can clearly see the torn ear he got as a puppy, and the faded red leather collar we bought for him after he snapped the blue one. There’s no questioning the photo. Especially since I was the one who took it, eight years ago. I recognize the bit of rose bush in the corner, the grape Popsicle wrapper at Baxter’s feet. I’m feeling even more confused now. Is this a prank? That photo is in an album at my mother’s house, three states away. To my knowledge it was never shared with anyone, and even if it had been, how would they be able to connect it to me?

The phone rings again and the lady is back. “Are you coming to pick him up?”

“I… I don’t think that’s my dog,” I protest weakly.

She lets out an exasperated noise. “Then I’m taking him to the shelter.” And she hangs up.

What could I do? I couldn’t leave poor, loyal Baxter with a stranger, to be dumped at the pound, wondering where I was and why I wasn’t coming for him. So I went. Of course I went. Wouldn’t you?

I guess I can’t complain much. It took some getting used to, having Baxter around again. He’s mostly unchanged. He accompanied me around the neighborhood to take down the posters that I never put up, the ones with my phone number on them. I guess I like having him back. He still gets up on to my bed at night, though he no longer sleeps (or eats); he just watches me silently, and I try not to think about it too much.


I woke at 3 am to the familiar sounds of the rabbit thumping around in her hutch. The sound echoed hollowly through the house, making sleep impossible. I kicked Andrew with my foot.

"Your turn," I mumbled. With a groan, he rose and went to her hutch to calm her.

I must have dozed off again, though only for a short time, before I heard more banging. Rabbits thump their back feet as a warning signal when frightened and she'd been at it for over a week every night now. It was getting old.

I rose to soothe her, not bothering to turn on the lights. She was panting heavily in the bottom of her hutch. In the dark, I couldn't see her, but I imagined her eyes were wide and wild. I gave her a few pets and a reassuring word before I stumbled back to bed in the darkened house. In the doorway, I smashed into another figure.

"Sorry, honey," I mumbled, patting Andrew's skin. It was cold and clammy. "It's okay. I took care of it."

I moved past him in the dark and climbed back into bed, where Andrew lay asleep, his breathing soft and even.


My neighbour, Fernando, is what you'd call a "cat person." He loves cats. And that's about all he loves. He's always been a loner; I've never interacted with him myself, except for on three occasions when he came over to my house screaming because I was making too much noise (at 9 PM on a Friday).

In short, Fernando hasn't been a good neighbour. He's the kind of guy who would yell at neighbourhood kids to get off his lawn, if he had one. But you can't help but feel like, deep down, there must be some good in him, because every night you see him at the end of the cul-de-sac, feeding his ever-growing colony of stray cats.

Let me be clear: I love cats, but not these cats. They're a nuisance. They have fleas, and they shit in the flowerbeds, and they're an obvious health threat to all the other pets in the neighbourhood. Their population has been steadily growing and now there's about a dozen of them. The cats are mostly feral, but they used to follow Fernando around when he was outside. I say "used to" because lately, they've been avoiding him. There's nothing sadder than seeing Fernando's sagging, miserable posture as he sits on the curb, holding a can of wet cat food, waiting for the cats to come to him. They don't. They give him a wide berth, and have done so ever since the paramedics pulled his cold, bloated body out of his bathtub two weeks ago.

I used to complain about the cats. But now I'm just happy they're here, because they can see him too.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Hawkeye and Vision: The Best and Worst Avengers

Infinity War comes out this month.

If you don't know what Infinity War is (perhaps you've been in a medically induced coma for the last ten years), Infinity War is the culmination of Marvel's last eighteen movies.

There's over twenty superheroes, including such favorites as Captain America, Iron Man, and Thor.

Today, I'd like to focus on two of the characters who get a lot of grief.  These characters are not Captain America, Iron Man, or Thor.  These characters are not the ones little kids play, unless they are the chubby kid forced to by the other kids who already took all the good characters.  These characters are not the ones who have much merchandise, and who will likely never have a standalone movie.

I'm talking, of course, about Vision and Hawkeye.

 Here they are fighting, probably over their single fan.

The thing is, I do not like to lump them together.  Because while they have something in common (being the honorary "worst avengers"), they could not be more different.

They historically fit somewhere between this guy and Major Maple Leaf in fan rankings.

Here's the fundamental difference between them.  Vision is the worst.  Hawkeye is the best.

Yeah, that's right.  I said Hawkeye is the best.  And I'm dedicating this blog post to explaining why.

As for Vision, there's a number of reasons he's not well-liked by the fans.  Despite his powers not being especially clearly defined in the movies (phase shifting, shapeshifting, regeneration, project solar rays from his forehead, telekinesis), he's universally agreed to be overpowered.  He also looks like a huge loser and has boring dialogue.  Also, he came out of one of Marvel's arguably least good movies, Age of Ultron.

But my issue with Vision isn't that he's overpowered or not funny or not interesting or any of that.

It's that I don't believe he should be an Avenger in the first place.  He's basically a piece of awful, awful equipment without discernible motivation for his actions.  The only meaningful things he's ever done are picking up Thor's hammer and crippling Rhodey.

Let's address the hammer thing, by the way.  The team trusts him because picking up the hammer is a sign of "worthiness."  However, that applies to sentient beings.

As Steve and Tony point out, you can theoretically put the hammer in an elevator and move it.  
Does this mean all elevators should be Avengers?

So this brings me to the crux of the matter.  Vision isn't a "person."  He's artificial intelligence, like Ultron.  The other Avengers have their motivations: morality, protecting the people they love, not getting killed, et cetera and so forth.  This is basic Game Theory.  Vision is not clearly motivated by a goddamn thing.  He doesn't need to eat or sleep.  He has no need for money.  Vision's motivations are known only to Vision and could change at the snap of a pair of fingers.  Nothing he does makes sense because there's really no reason for him to do anything or have strong opinions about anything.  If the world's destroyed, Vision's gonna be just fine.  Does he even have concepts of mortality or self-preservation?  WHO KNOWS!

At best, Vision is a piece of equipment personified by the Avengers (like Tony's robot, DUMM-E).

Who was more well-liked than Vision by audiences, 
and whose death in Iron Man 3 was not at all deserved, in my opinion.

Vision is a piece of equipment that permanently crippled and nearly killed one of the team members!

When a piece of equipment does something like that, you get that shit serviced.  I know Vision acted remorseful, but again, we have no idea if his version of "remorse" is at all what we understand it to be.

At the very least he should have been retired but instead they shove him into Avengers Tower with the other most unstable Avenger, Scarlet Witch, and the two of them cook together.  During this time he fails to understand non-objective concepts like "pinches" of ingredients.

Yeah, that's really a guy you want on your superhero team.

The problem with Vision was never that he was over-powered.  It's that we don't understand what the fuck his motivations are.  Why does Vision do anything?  We, the audience, can't relate to him.  Characters like Iron Man, Thor, and the Hulk are all over-powered in their own rights.  But they have weaknesses.  They have humanity.  And that's why we love them, and why we will never, ever be able to love the British-accented copy machine that is Vision.

Now.  Speaking of humans...


Hawkeye.  Absolutely under-rated and low-key my favorite Avenger after Iron Man.

Ironically, Marvel's marketing team has refused to show Hawkeye in any of the Infinity War promos, creating a sudden upswing in fans' love for him.

 There were 22 covers Infinity War covers and Hawkeye wasn't on any of them.  
This is fan-made.

But I've always loved Hawkeye, since Matt Fraction's 2012 version of Hawkeye.

The thing about Hawkeye is that, at first glance, he appears like the weakest link.

There have been no shortage of jokes at his expense.

This article is pretty funny as well.

Even Clint himself has made jokes about his seeming ineptitude.

But there's a lot more to MCU Clint than meets the eye.

These self-aware jokes bring me to my first of five points about why Hawkeye is so awesome:


On a team of people battling PTSD in every direction, you know who we never see complain much?  Clint.  You've got Steve grappling with personal issues, Tony grappling with personal issues, Bruce and Natasha grappling with personal issues, and Thor grappling with personal issues.  Everyone has a problem with their dad or being mind-controlled or feeling guilty about killing people...

...and then there's Clint, the only apparently emotionally secure Avenger, showing up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed to every battle without needing to have a monologue about World War II or a cave in Afghanistan or his anger issues or the Red Room or how his brother is a trickster god.

Nope, Clint clocks in and saves the drama for his mama.

In Captain America: Civil War, Clint refuses to sign the Sokovia Accords off-camera and retires quietly, while Steve grapples with the decision for half the movie, finally deciding that the best course of action is to have a huge fucking temper-tantrum that destabilizes half of Europe probably.

Clint joins Steve's side; later on, during the fight, he asks if he and Natasha are still friends, and another character observes that he's pulling punches.  That's the level of emotional competency we're dealing with here.

Clint is the only Avenger who doesn't need to have an emotional breakdown every movie.  Nope, when he's not avenging, he's going to his kids' band practice and catching up on Breaking Bad.

On a superhero team, you'd really hope everyone would have their shit together.  But only Clint does.  Everyone else is plagued by demons.  Clint?  Clint is plagued by choices when he goes down to Dunkin' Donuts and sees there are two new glazes.


On a team of leaders, Clint has the unique position of "follower."  Considering these asshats are supposed to be working together, this is an underappreciated trait.  Thor, Tony, and Steve are all clearly desperate to be seen as the "team leader."

Not Clint.  You point, he shoots.  Clint is secure in his role as "the long-range weapons guy" and has never felt it necessary to get involved in a dick-measuring contest with the rest.

In Age of Ultron when Laura Barton says "I see those guys, those "gods"... I think they [need you]. They're gods, and they need someone to keep them down to Earth."  Putting aside the fact that I think Laura is trying to goad him into an early grave, she has a point.  A team can't be made up of 6 leaders.  You need some followers.  Clint is the glue holding them together; he's got a Coulson-esque role, one we rarely see appreciated except when the other Avengers literally acknowledge it.


Clint often gets described as "the bow and arrow guy."  And that's fine and dandy.  But he's so much more.

He's the guy Fury sent to kill Natasha, who was the KGB's best assassin.  Think about it.  Clint was the man for that job.

Clint's weapon of choice is the bow...

...but he's got a number of other incredible skills.  Hand-to-hand, for example.

We see Clint in Thor 1, where he is helping to guard the hammer and is poised to take a shot at Thor.  (He doesn't because he never gets the order; he confirms there is no order to shoot, more evidence of what a great agent he is.)  We see Clint early on in The Avengers, guarding the Tesseract.  We see Clint hanging out at SHIELD facilities regularly, doing his job.  He's a jack of all trades.  A guy with a whole host of useful spy skills.

Many of his skills are quiet, undercover-style ones,  none of the flashy pageantry of the other dudes.  What are those other dudes trying to prove?  Clint is the Avengers equivalent of a guy secure enough to drive a minivan or a Volkswagen bug.  Tony, on the other hand, is a guy driving a lifted truck with a pair of dangly nuts hanging off the back hitch.


Sometimes, Tony just... disappears.  (Remember Iron Man 3?)  And sometimes, the Hulk just... needs some time.

You know who shows up to every fucking battle?

That's right.  Clint.  Even the Battle of New York, which he had every reason to sit out because he'd been mind-raped by Loki like 24 hours earlier.  Clint didn't care.  Clint comes and does his job.  He doesn't have time for grand speeches or emotional breakdowns or subplots.  Clint is the only Avenger who goes "welp, time to get to work," and hitches up his bow and goes to get things taken care of.


Fury put together a team of remarkable people.  Geniuses.  Enhanced super-soldiers.  The best of the best.  And one of those people was Clint.

Clint may not be the most powerful Avenger.  But he's an Avenger.

This is like someone winning bronze in the Olympics.  There's a few people better than they are, but goddamn, they are still at the top.

This Tumblr post sums it up nicely:

 With Marvel's promo materials refusing to show any pictures of Clint, there have been some question as to whether or not he's going to show up at all.  (Spoiler: not 'til Avengers 4.)

I, for one, am delighted to see Clint finally getting some well-deserved attention.  His absence has created a lot of speculation among the fans and a sudden upswing in Hawkeye-related discussions.  Hawkeye's mysterious lack of promo pics is a mystery on par with "where is the final soul stone?"
Most fans believe it's in Wakanda.  It makes sense for the soul stone to be in a country so black that their superhero literally gets his powers from purple drank.

But me, I think its location is obvious.

The soul stone allows the user to control and manipulate souls.  Guess which Avenger seems most in control, has the purest soul, and has captured the hearts and minds of the fans without appearing in a single goddaamn promo?

...that's right, folks.  You heard it here first.

Hawkeye is the soul stone.

Hawkvengers: Clintfinity War will be released worldwide on April 27th.