Looking for some good Queer content? The best Wednesday Club was Episode 19: Love is Love! with Marc Andreyko. They talked about the Love is Love anthology made in memory of the Pulse shooting and talked about the history of queer representation in comics.
This is also the episode where Taliesin and Amy came out as bi. It was so soft and empathetic and empowering the whole way through that I think it gave them a push of confidence to say it.
Interesting history, they pulled this VOD after this aired and edited out that coming out. I suspect someone felt they got caught up in the moment and weren’t actually sure they did want that out there. But word spread anyway and a few weeks later it was quietly restored.
The only depressing thing about this episode is how hopeful they were for the future and how much everything’s gone to shit in the two years since it came out.
If you can handle the sorrow, I really can’t recommend “Love is Love” enough. It’s one of the most beautiful books I’ve ever read. A lot of it is heartbreaking, but there are also a lot of uplifting pieces about pride and joy and love, and those were so special.
This episode is so fascinating because there’s are dozens and dozens of little ways Taliesin’s subtext was “I’m queer,” but it was such a surprise for that subtext to be text at the end. I think it’s greatly affected how I read his queer coding in acting.
Reading Taliesin himself in this episode of Wednesday Club is a major reason why I feel somewhat confident in my analysis about the queer subtext he shows in Caduceus (and Percy). He’s very deliberate about his subtext, I think the joke is always that it’s genuine.
“Well, those are then the Schrodinger’s representations which are ‘Are they? Aren’t they? We’re not going to say.’ [Stage whisper] But they are.”
I think about this quote all the time. What he says sideways is deliberate, and something he personally delights in reading into. This is, after all, him playing out people in the way he would interact, not really for other people. We don’t ask straight people to tell us they’re straight, they just show it and we all assume it’s true. I strongly suspect that’s a freedom Taliesin looks for in queer portrayal.
One of the dynamics going on here that’s SO INTERESTING is how apparent the age gap is between Marc and Taliesin and Amy. I don’t know Amy’s age, but I’d guess she’s a decade younger. Marc and Taliesin are so much more okay with clunky, subtext, and or tragic representation.
Partly this is just a difference of Taliesin liking sad stories & Amy liking happy ones, but the difference is so much more magnified in this episode. Her standards for what makes good representation are noticeably higher, I’d guess partly because she grew up in a better world.
One of the books they mentioned is “My Brother’s Husband” by Gengoroh Tagame. there are two volumes and it’s such an outstandingly soft story. One of the best comics I’ve ever read. Yaichi and his daughter Kana get a visit from Mike, his brother’s husband, after his brother died. It’s about Yaichi trying to get over his homophobia and teach Kana to be a better, more accepting person than he was. Kana just accepts Mike straight away and thinks he’s amazing.
Here is a selection of comic picks from the episode (by no means all of them). Here’s Amy’s crowdsourced queer comics recommendation thread, which is full of excellent reads, some of which they talked about.
4:45 Marc: “I’m glad [the Pulse shooter] is dead because he did a horrible, unforgivable thing, but part of me wishes someone had been there to give him a hug, you know?”
[I’ve been thinking about this sentiment and grace for two years.]
10:54 Marc: “We need to hold our government responsible with the same passion we do when Marvel has Spider-Man’s costume wrong in an issue.”
0:16:08 Taliesin: “It is a thing that happens to me occasionally on the internet, and this book brought this back up pretty significantly, and I don’t do this all the time ’cause I only have so much emotional energy for a human being, especially, you know, times being what they are. I’ve only got so much of my brain power before I turn into a quivering mess.”
0:16:25 Marc: “I can’t wait for the day we can wake up and not be angry.”
Taliesin: “I know. I’m so…”
Marc: “I’m so tired of being mad!”
0:16:31 Taliesin: “I take moments every morning, and of course being on the internet you get a lot of- there’s hate and trolling that come my way, and a lot of it is nothing I didn’t hear in high school, nothing that I’m not use to, you know, I’ve got a pretty thick skin, and I don’t delve into the comments sections of videos or anything like that because I’m, you know, sane. But every now and then some body gets through and I just kind of want to have a moment of, like, I wish- and I want to test the theory that if I just find this person, I grab them for a second, and like, ‘Dude, are you alright? Like, do you need therapy because I’m in therapy and it’s fucking great, and what can I-‘ I feel like, “When was the last time anyone asked you if you’re just okay, if you need something ’cause, like, what the fuck, man?”
0:17:18 Taliesin: “I wish I had the energy for all these kids. I mean, like, it’s so- and in real life I can do this, and I’ve had those moments in real life where you see someone losing their shit and you’re like, ‘Do you just need a fucking drink and someone to listen to you talk about your shit and not tell you that you’re being, like-‘”
Amy: “Or fewer drinks.”
Taliesin: “I mean, like, often times just sit down, and I promise I’m not going to make fun of you, I’m not going to tell you you’re being weak, tell me, like, what, man, what hurts?”
0:17:59 Marc: “I don’t think most people are evil. I think that there’s a percentage of people that occupy the White House that are pure evil…”
Taliesin: “I’ve had a couple roommates that I’m not even making a joke that are definitely into that spectrum, but most people are just lonely and sad.”
Marc: “Well, most people want to live their life, be happy, and be left alone, and I think for me it all boils down to education is the key because when you have- when you’re not educated, you’re easily scared and when you’re easily scared you look for scape goats. It’s what one political party has been making their hay on for a number of years.”
31:27 Marc: “We’re all the same. We come up with things as a species to divide us when we’re actually 99% the same. And we just let that 1% get in the way of everything.”
36:01 Taliesin: “I started to figure out that this was the beginning of a process. And I was starting to notice, ‘This is going to lead to the types of characters I want to see in my fiction. And I started breaking down this formula of there’s things that you have to do in the momentum of pop culture to get the kind of characters you want. And this was one of the thing that you have to do. And I broke it down to metaphorical representation with books like the X-Men where there are no—there were almost no gay characters in the X-Men.”
Marc: “Or Peppermint Patty, or Schroder.”
Taliesin: “Well, those are then the Schrodinger’s representations which are ‘Are they? Aren’t they? We’re not going to say.’ [Stage whisper] But they are.
“But we have the metaphorical, we have the Schrodinger, we hate the stereotypes, which are the these are the things people think they know about these people.”
Marc: “The gay hairdresser, the black drug dealer…”
Taliesin: “Then you have the buddyism, which is you have the established characters going, ‘Some of my best friends.’ And then we can just have a character where this is part of the tapestry. Once we’ve gone through all of this stuff so that everybody has gotten it out of their system, we’ve kind of sifted the pop culture to the point that now you can just do it.”
Marc: “But that’s not just limited to LGBT.”
Taliesin: “No, that’s any.”
Marc: You look at female characters, you look at African American characters, and what’s interesting about the LGBT experience now is it’s taken 100 years for Black characters, it’s taken 100 years for women characters, the LGBT representation- In my lifetime- if you told me 20 years ago that the Supreme Court would say that marriage is a right, I would have said, ‘No way.'”
Amy: “No way.”
Marc: “If you had told me there was going to be a gay-straight alliance at my high school, where my graduating class was 1000 people, 99% of the them I’d say, ‘No.’ My high school reached out to me after the book came out to send copies to their library. The learning curve for LGBT- we have gotten the privilege of having a very accelerated learning curve on the backs of other minorities who are still struggling to get ahead.”
Taliesin: “We got to live- you actually get to live to see the work pay off. Which is rare in human history.
Marc: “As you say, that’s just the way it starts out. It starts with exotic, then it becomes noble savage, then it becomes villain, then it becomes minstrel, then it becomes best friend, then it becomes lead. That’s just the evolutionary trail.”
54:32 Taliesin: “Culture is not a rocket ship. We all don’t get on the rocket ship to the planet culture and go up to the moon. Culture is like life: it is chaotic, it is violent, it is hungry… It is not normal for everything to just keep getting better all at the same time. It’s normal for everything to get better over a period of the long game. In any internal point, chaos—”
Marc: “Well, Love is Love, a tragedy made that book come to life.”
Taliesin: “That is the soil in which these things get planted, sadly.”
Amy: “But that kid who graduates high school [because the book encouraged them when they thought they couldn’t do it], who knows what happens.”
0:55:04 Matt: “We’ve got Blackmarket Bingo asking, ‘What does Pride mean to each of you individually?'”
0:55:11 Marc: “Well, pride to me is a loaded word because, as a writer, I think ‘pride,’ I think ‘hubris,’ I think pride can be a detriment. There’s pride with a lowercase p and there’s Pride with a capital P. I think, for me, Pride in the LGBT sense of the word is lack of shame, is owning who you are, and not apologizing for who you are.”
Taliesin: “Personal honesty.”
Marc: “And being a good person who’s an honest person. If you’re an honest person and you live your life by the only direction we need as people: treat people the way you want to be treated. I don’t care if you’re gay, straight, Black, white, Republican, liberal, conservative, whatever, if you treat people the way you want to be treated that is living Pride because you should be proud of us not yourself; you should be proud of the change you can affect to make the world a better place. And I know that sounds like fortune cookies or Opera, or Yanla (sp?) changed my life or something like that, but it is very true. So, a lot of these clichés are become cliché because they are very true. And I think if you just try and live your life honestly and be nice to people. Hold the door, let someone in in traffic, you know, talk to the old lady in line at the grocery store, you never know what difference that’s going to make. You never know how that’s going to change the course of someone’s life, so why not?”
0:56:48 Taliesin: “The notion of, ‘We’re all in this together.’ And I will say Pride for me has always been about… and I got a lot of, well, for various reason I got a lot of crap as a kid, but one of the things I got crap about was this notion from some people, this was the weird one, that I was somehow putting effort into being this kind of person. That this took effort, that I was somehow pushing forward a pretense, and I just kind of had to do the, “No, this is actually…”
Marc: ‘Who has the energy?”
Taliesin: “Who has the energy to pretend to be this weird and awkward! This is just me letting go and if every- like-“
Marc: “I’m not Andy Kaufman, this is all real.”
Taliesin: “This is not an act! this is just- I mean, occasionally it’s curated, which is different, especially this being the internet, but like, just the notion that if we all are- and the honesty that I was talking about, it was not honesty to other people necessarily, but just waking up that morning and being the person you feel like being and then just treating everybody the way- and just finding that communication between real people, not people trying to live up to some notion of who they think they should be.”
0:57:50 Marc: “Well, once again I’m going to circle this back to a quote Patty Jenkins said, she talked about how the word cheesy is banned on her sets because she said, ‘When did we become afraid of genuine emotion and sincerity.’ And I’m guilty of this; we’ve all become too cool for school; we’ve all become the kids in Heathers and all that. And that’s kind of why we’re at where we’re at now: We’re afraid to cry, we’re afraid to let down our walls, and I can’t even read the quote because I start bawling, but she talks about we’re in a really difficult place as a species right now. We should be embracing sincerity and genuine emotion and that sort of thing. We shouldn’t be afraid of it anymore. And I just responded to her, I tweeted back, ‘Fuck yes!’
1:09:28 Marc: “There’s something to be said for the hidden and the metaphor, you know?”
Marc: “It’s great that there’s so much acceptance for LGBT characters and LGBT people today, but part of me wishes it was still back when I was in my 20s when you would get- you would see someone as a party and be like, [knowing nod] ‘Yeah, I know,’ and it was just unsaid or your would know that Peppermint Patty and Marcy are going to have a bed and breakfast in Oregon when they’re adults.”
Marc: “And all that secret handshake stuff was… It’s immeasurably better now and I’m putting this in… I would never want it to change, but there was something that the not knowing, the not having everyone be in on the joke, was nice because it also gave us an ownership of ourselves where it was the club we could control, we were the bouncer at the door of this club, and of course, ironically, homogenization is a good thing and to an extent of everyone being missed up, but there’s something to be said about the subtlety of that, and I think a lot of times the subtlety and the metaphors are far more impactful than the direct.”
1:15:41 Taliesin: “You have to be open to new ideas and you have to have faith in your ideas, if you think they’re good ideas, that they’re not… if they’re good enough ideas, the world is not going to break them in half. They don’t need to have a fence built around them. If you have good ideas and philosophies about the world, the world’s not going to break them, it’s going to enforce them.
1:20:10 Marc: “‘Cause I always say that being gay is a huge part of who I am, but it’s also an utterly insignificant part of who I am. We’re all, once again, we’re all have the same day to day struggles.”
1:54:18 Amy: “I don’t talk about it much, but I’m the B in LGBT, for the record. Doesn’t tend to come up a lot.”
Taliesin: “Are we going there?”
Amy: “Well, I am.”
Taliesin: “Yeah, I am, too. Fuck it.”
Taliesin looked at her with intense trepidation after she said it. Worried about what that step might mean, but also what it said about him if he did that whole episode about Pride and but was too scared to show it. And then wrote it off with a brief shrug and “Fuck it.”
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