Happy birthday to us! Critical Writ has just turned one, and that's kind of a big fucking deal, as the former Vice President of the United States might say.
This project started out as a bunch of progressives and feminists, denizens of another blog's comment section, who decided they wanted to get together and make a thing. This was always a project of passion and a labor love. The volunteer workforce had lots of great ideas and loudly liked to proclaim them to all and sundry. That anyone managed to coral these explosive and powerful personalities together at all was a pleasant surprise. That the project managed to go anywhere, and turn into a blog that is still growing and still finding its voice today, is a miracle.
I didn't start this blog, although I was part of the original group of loud-mouthed opinionated individuals. But I was blessed with the trust of the group to take over when the founder, Etienne, had to step away because of real life issues. But truly, this blog wouldn't be around if not for the wonderful group of contributors and editors and staff that make it possible. This project has exceeded my expectations, but we have plenty of room for growth potential.
And you dear readers: whether you've just joined us or been with us from the start, whether you only read Arrow and The Flash reviews or the monthly Make A Solicit Check, or you only comment in the Critical Hits & Misses daily segment... we appreciate you. Thank you for making this journey with us. We hope you stick around, as we continue to grow and improve.
We have opinions, and we are dedicated to our causes of feminism and representation in media and our hobbies and interests. And I look forward to the coming year, because we feminists and progressives have much work to do in the era of Trump. It may seem like a blog that critiques pop culture is a strange way to do such work, but it is how we express ourselves. Representation, even and perhaps especially in our fandoms and hobbies, matters a great deal.
I have asked our hard-working crew of Contributors to say a few words about what this blog has meant to them this year, why they became involved, what they see as good, and in some cases, where they see we could use some improvement. Please read on, because these voices are not only vital to this blog, but also diverse and empowered. I am a better feminist and progressive today because of the people I am fortunate enough to work with here.
Happy 1st birthday, Critical Writ!
Zachary: First, I would just like to say how happy I am that Critical Writ has made it to a solid year of producing content. Over the past twelve months, I have had a marvelous time of writing reviews and sharing my thoughts on media, particularly when I actually have something intelligent to say. I believe that we have achieved a wonderful passion project where geeks of all kinds can come together and discuss whatever they want. Additionally, we’ve actually gotten interviews with professional authors! I think that’s amazing. In the future, I hope that we can continue to have success and maybe even expand into some form of auditory/visual content. Personally, I’m rooting for a puppet show.
Adrian: I got involved with Critical Writ because talking about geek media is just as fun as consuming it. We all have something to say about our favorite (or least favorite) story, don't we? That need to talk about media, about geekdom, to critique it, celebrate it... that's what led me to first meet this bunch of nerds. Why wouldn't I want to join in the fun and create a place where we could continue to do just that? I think we've had a great year getting our feet wet, seeing what works, and learning what it takes to run a humble little corner of the geek-o-sphere. For our second year, I simply hope we continue to keep the conversation moving, to remain critical of the geek media we love, save the Rebellion, and save the dream!
Megan: One of my favourite quotes is from Thomas King, who said "The truth about stories is, that's all we are." The stories we tell, be it true tales between friends or from a sci-fi blockbuster film, enrich our lives and inspire us. It is my belief that being critical of stories isn’t an exercise in trash talking, but a means to celebrate the good and expose the bad. The aim is to push for more stories from people from all walks of life and not just the most privileged. The goal is to hold our media to a higher standard; we do this because we should expect better, and applaud when they soar above expectations. Criticism identifies what went right, what went wrong, and what hit us in significant and emotional ways. Critical Writ has been an amazing opportunity to hear more stories and dissect them with friends who also care deeply about them. What do I want for our second year? To end with another quote: Higher, Further, Faster, More.
Rosario: I’m glad I’ve become part of Critical Writ. Everybody here has some incredible thoughts and bless our overlord editors for giving us this space and believing that we could have something worth sharing, something to contribute to the conversation. There is so much diverse content out there, so I’m looking to offer both a different perspective on popular media and to present people with media they may not have tried yet. "The limits of my language are the limits of my world. All I know is what I have words for," said Ludwig Wittgenstein. The same applies to culture. Therefore, I will always try to bring some obscure little thing to the table. For our second year, I think I’d like to become even more involved and help as much as I can! I like this effort and I would like to see it succeed, maybe leading up to projects we may not be able to picture (as of yet). The future sounds like an amazing place for us to be.
Dominik: It’s hard to believe it’s already been a year since we started Critical Writ; at the same time, it’s hard to believe it’s only been a year. This little corner of the Internet geekdom has become an important part of my life, and one it sometimes feels like I’ve been involved in for a long time. It’s been a tremendous experience, figuring out how to put my thoughts in an understandable and coherent manner, growing along with the Writ, exploring my limits, and slowly becoming more confident. For the second year, I’d like to keep that forward momentum, push at the limits both personal and general, so that my favorite place on the Internet becomes even better and even more open. We’re going to need places like this more than ever, havens where we can at the same time recharge and find the will to fight on. And fight we will, against ignorance and hate. And if there’s one thing I learned in my years of geekdom, it’s that, though the opposing forces and ideologies of hate can seem overwhelming: they can’t stop the signal.
Elizabeth: To me Critical Writ has been around a lot longer than a year. I’ve talked for hours with many of our site contributors before Critical Writ was unleashed upon the world wide web. Seeing the blog now reminds me about the patch of internet that I stumbled upon in my younger years that exposed me to the idea of critiquing media you love and the impact that pop culture has on people. And for some people who are underrepresented by media or are shown in harmful or stereotypical ways, positive words matter. Underrepresented people making their own media and work is just as important. I hope that we can continue to talk about these works, to critique, enjoy, and write about, and I hope we can do this indefinitely.
The Luminous Bunny-Rabit God-Emperor John: In my experience, Critical Writ is more about us, than anything else. Over the past year, I’ve watched a ragtag group of nerds, geeks, and dorks assemble. For now, this blog is, honestly, just a water droplet in the vast ocean of The Internet. We’re nothing special. Except we are, in that we are nurturing up-and-coming writers. That might not seem like much to some - but, it’s not something I’ve seen done nearly enough, even as it becomes increasingly necessary. My friends have noted the importance of the type of content we aim to produce, but I really want to highlight the value of teaching people how to produce that kind of content. Which I like to think is something we try to do. For the coming year, all I want is for us all to keep improving. To do better and to do more. Oh, and when the time comes, eviscerate Zack Snyder and everything his cancerous lack of talent touches.
Miz Opifex: I’ve seen so many projects that started with “let's do this collaborative thing!” die in the cradle in my post art school years, that it always feels like a little miracle when something lasts long enough to start to really come together. I love Critical Writ. I love the people who make it happen every day. I love being part of this team. Our first year has exceeded all my expectations. Here’s hoping for many happy returns.
Sometimes I sing under my breath in public, garnering stares like there’s Something Very Wrong with me (and for all I know, there is). I’m the kind of active listener whose train of thought can quietly go off the rails in the middle of a sentence. To be sure, I’ll still mutter “uhuh” and “I see” like a high-functioning adult, but most conversations with Etienne involve a secret detour through the Multiverse.
Starting things is perhaps one of my most calamitous inclinations. If I didn’t reign myself in, I’d start several breakfasts every morning and I wouldn’t get around to doing much else before lunch. (Thanks to my legendary self-restraint, I get by with only two breakfasts most days.)
Finishing breakfasts is rarely a problem, but some potentials are much more difficult to actualize. Blogs, for instance: blogs are like Sisyphean boulders that only become heavier as the original momentum wanes. Critical Writ is one of my more fortunate projects in that it came to rely on stronger, more capable hands very early on, thereby ensuring its future.
Another one of my more glaring character flaws is that I tend to expect the best from people, and to take them at their word. Critical Writ has defied the odds by rewarding my naïveté instead of punishing it. I hope it continues to do so for many years.