The Extrahuman Union

Posts Tagged ‘politics

So much new stuff to check out:

Tastes Like Chicken. Sort Of

Do you like Chicken McNuggets? No? Well, check out my 30pov piece Chicken McLife anyway, as I examine my life through McNuggets:

I had a routine. I’d walk into town, a couple of miles from the college, and swing by the comic book store. I’d buy whatever was new. It might have been Battle Angel Alita, The Maxx, Strangers in Paradise or just the latest Batman, but I always picked up two or three issues. Then I’d hike over to the McDonald’s on Colman St., on the edge of the city, and sit for a while reading comic books and eating McNuggets.

For a while, all the chaos in my head stilled, and the world was nothing but a plastic seat, Batman, and some greasy food.


I went to a Tea Party rally for no good reason, except to take pictures and write a report. Yes, the signs were amusing. Yes, they had foam pitchforks. The report is here: Tax Day Rally Fizzles.

It has to be a frustrating time for the Tea Party. In Washington, House Republicans are compromising with the hated Obama on the budget and may yet allow the debt limit to be raised. Here in Connecticut, Democrats likely have the votes to pass big tax increases as part of an effort to close the budget gap. The big wins of last year are already fading from memory, and no one seems all that excited about 2012. Unlike 2009 and 2010, there is no one single bill to rally against, no one unifying task.

Two other articles: The Myth of the Easy Answer, which has a lot of my political philosophy in it, and Budget Deal Winners and Losers, which has, um, those.


I did a guest post at Reading With Tequila, about superheroes! It wasn’t part of the recent blog tour, so I’m linking to it from here.

In a lot of ways, superhero stories are about those who are different or special in one way or another. Here are people who either have inborn or contracted special abilities or powers, or who are in some other way extraordinary.

And that’s it for now! There’s some big big news to talk about soon, too!


The BROKEN Blog Tour is ongoing! You can click the above image for more information on what’s happening. So far this week, I’ve done an interview over at The Fiction Enthusiast, with a review coming tomorrow at Rex Robot Reviews.

Wednesday and Thursday are reviews at The Neverending Bookshelf and Novapsych, and the week ends back at The Fiction Enthusiast for a fun top ten list.

And that’s that!

In Other News

I’ve got a post up about the transgender anti-discrimination bill being considered in Connecticut at CT News Junkie. I don’t usually mix trans stuff and state politics, but in this case, I felt I had a lot I wanted to say.

Also: Shiny things have arrived at my publisher. Oh yes.

The Connecticut General Assembly’s Judiciary Committee is holding hearings about the death penalty again today. I’ve said a lot about this in the past, and I think a lot of the arguments are so well-worn by this point that the testimony could really be a series of references to testimonies past: “I’d like to take a moment if I may to replay for you a montage I’ve made of the remarks I’ve given on this subject over the past ten years. It’s twenty minutes long. Can we get the lights?”

There’s a central question everyone’s trying to get at with death penalty debates, though I don’t think we ever quite get there. It seems to me like we’re all trying to figure out just who justice is for, and what it’s about. Is it for the victims or their families? The accused? Are we about revenge? Rehabilitation? Bettering society in some way? Keeping society safe? The death penalty debate crystalizes these issues in a way that few other policy discussions do. It holds a mirror up to our society, and forces us to very closely examine one of its foundations.

I personally believe that there’s little to be gained and much to lose when when the state takes a life, but many people believe that death is the ultimate justice for victims and their families. I respect that point of view, because both come from that place in the human soul that demands justice when someone is wronged.

There are a lot of pieces of our justice system which could do with a good, long and very public examination. Our casual acceptance of abuse in prisons, for one. What happens to ex-offenders when they leave the system is another. The death penalty is not a bad place to start, though, because the answers we find here could become a lens through which to see these other, larger and more entrenched problems.

I tried something different with my political writing this week: I used humor.

This is a terrible idea, as anyone who has ever tried to be funny knows.

During the 2008 campaign, there was a moment when John McCain tried to write an editorial for the New York Times and had it sent back for editing. As someone who has dealt with editors and I thought this was hilarious, so I whipped up a piece about John McCain having an angry email exchange with the editor at the Times in which he ranted, typed in all caps, and put random words in quotes. Because he is old, you see! In light of that, I thought the email address I gave him,, was particularly brilliant. I sent it in to the Hartford Courant and they ran it.

It was a total bomb, and looking back on it, I can see why. The humor wasn’t all that subtle, and the ageist jokes were less amusing than they were kind of mean. I don’t think my mother liked it very much, either. The experience did give me a lot of respect for people who can write consistently funny stuff, day in and day out. It’s not easy. I can’t imagine trying to write funny columns or routines all the time, much less try to be funny in a format as long as, say, a book.

Every once in a while, though, I want to try something that isn’t either serious, horribly depressing or dry and analytical. I think we’ll call that “expanding my horizons,” since that sounds a lot better than “plea for attention.”

Let me know what you think!

One of my enduring obsessions is maps–especially political maps. I exercised that obsession this weekend with a piece over at CT News Junkie about Connecticut’s fifth congressional district, which will have no incumbent running in it in 2012! Open congressional seats are the Loch Ness Monsters of Connecticut politics, so this is going to get interesting.

The maps are pretty cool for this one. I’ve put a bunch of Connecticut political maps up on my Flickr photostream.

Maps help me think about a place. I have many maps of various places in the BROKEN universe, as well as several of the fantasy worlds I’ve written about from time to time. I sometimes sketch maps for fun when I’m bored. I also find that when I’m reading a book, maps often help me visualize the world of the story. Christopher Tolkien’s maps of his father’s world are the stuff of legend, not only because of the quality, but because of the scope and style.

Maps also help me think about things politically. Sometimes maps can reveal patterns we didn’t know were there, and tell us something about why people are voting the way they are and how they might vote in the future. The 5th district maps in the CTNJ piece show a volatile district that sometimes–if not always–responds strongly to national political winds. An open seat in this district is really a toss-up, as I think Connecticut’s voters will come to realize more over the coming cycle.

How about you? Do you find maps, political, fictional or otherwise, to be useful? Do you have any favorite map sites (mine is Strange Maps)?

I decided to ditch my old LiveJournal account because, man, I love WordPress way too much not to want to come over here instead.

There’s a lot more that I can do with a blog than with an LJ. I want to create kind of an all-purpose place for me to exist on the web where I can keep folks informed about everything I’m doing, from political writing at CT News Junkie to more memoir-ish nonfiction at, and, of course, longer fiction works like BROKEN.

So welcome! Take a moment to say hi.

–Susan Jane Bigelow

Susan Jane Bigelow’s Extrahuman Union

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