Let's settle the discussion about the female hero in 'Rogue One' once and for all.

So, um. There's a new "Star Wars" trailer out.

I... wha...


Image by Star Wars/YouTube.

Yeah, man.

...

Image by Star Wars/YouTube.

Right?

Awesome!

Image by Star Wars/YouTube.

I know.

But wait, who's that lady?

Image by Star Wars/YouTube.

That's Jyn Erso.

Uh, who?

Image by Star Wars/YouTube.

Jyn Erso. She appears to be the main character in "Rogue One," the new "Star Wars" movie.

Yes, I know that. I'm not an idiot. I mean, like, who is she?

There's not really much info on her yet, but judging by the trailer, she appears to be a renegade from the wrong side of the tracks with nothing left to lose.

Which probably means she's the hero.

Wait, wasn't the hero of the last "Star Wars" movie a woman too?


GIF from "Star Wars: The Force Awakens"/Disney.

Yes.

That's kind of weird. Why would they do that?

I mean, why wouldn't they do that?

It's just, I don't know. It seems like ... why do they have to, like ... make a whole thing out of it?


Another woman! There's at least two women in this movie! Image by Star Wars/YouTube.

Well, it's not necessarily "a thing." Why can't it just be ... what it is?

Is, like, every "Star Wars" movie going to have a female lead from now on? As, like, some sort of statement?

Probably not. But ... would it be wrong if they did? Putting men at the center of action/adventure movies was pretty much the default since the beginning of movies. But there's no real reason that has to be the case!

Women are perfectly capable of running, jumping, fighting, and blowing things up. When you think about it that way, having a woman lead two movies in a row seems a lot less weird.

Then why does it feel weird to me?

Image by Star Wars/YouTube.

Look, women are 50% of the population. That being the case, you'd expect to see a roughly equal number of movies starring women and men. But right now, we don't. From 2007 to 2014, only 30% of all speaking roles in the top 700 grossing films went to women. And in 2014, only 21% of the top 100 grossing films featured a female lead, according to a report published by the Media, Diversity and Social Change Initiative at USC. That's kind of ridiculous! But it's what we're used to.

Balancing those tables isn't giving female heroes special preeminence. It's correcting a huge imbalance that already exists. It's totally understandable that it feels odd. But what's actually odd is the way things were already. If ... that makes sense.

But what if I want to see a "Star Wars" movie with a male hero?

GIF from "Star Wars: Return of the Jedi"/LucasFilm.

You're in luck! Men still hold the all-time record for Most "Star Wars" Movies Led — at six in a row. You can purchase all of those films on DVD or Blu-ray.

But what if I want to see one on the big screen with Dolby surround sound?

GIF from "Star Wars"/LucasFilm.

More good news! You can do that in just a few years when the Han Solo movie comes out.

Yeah, OK. That makes sense.

Image by Star Wars/YouTube.

Sure! Look. Change is hard. Men have been starring in big blockbuster movies since basically forever. But just because it's always been that way doesn't mean it has to stay that way.

It's not only fair to mix it up, it's more interesting! Variety is the spice of life! Normal is a setting on a washing machine!

I mean, the last woman-led "Star Wars" was pretty great. And this one looks ... pretty damn good too.

Women have always been more than capable of heading a "Star Wars" movie. And now that they're actually getting chances, they're killing it. Batting 1.000, actually (on an admittedly small sample size). I'll sign up for that any day.

Cool. Want to preorder tickets?

Nah. In the spirit of the film, I'm sneaking in.

GIF from Star Wars/YouTube.

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As part of its promise for a brighter world, Dole is partnering with Bye Bye Plastic Bags's efforts to bring sunshine to all.

Visit www.sunshineforall.com to learn more.

Who would have thought that giving the world access to all human knowledge via the internet, the ability to follow and hear from experts on any subject via social media, and the ability to see what's happening anywhere in the world via smartphones with cameras would result in a terrifying percentage of the population believing and spouting nothing but falsehoods day in and day out?

Those of us who value facts, reason, and rational thought have found ourselves at some of our fellow citizens and thinking, "Really? THIS is how you choose to use the greatest tool humanity has ever created? To spew unfounded conspiracy theories?"

It's a marvel, truly.

Between Coronavirus/Bill Gates/5G conspiracies and QAnon/Evil Cabal/Pedophile conspiracies, I thought we were pretty much full up on kooky for 2020. But apparently not. The massive fires up and down the West Coast have ignited even more conspiracy theories, some of which local law enforcement and even the FBI have had to debunk.

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In 1945, the world had just endured the bloodiest war in history. World leaders were determined to not repeat the mistakes of the past. They wanted to build a better future, one free from the "scourge of war" so they signed the UN Charter — creating a global organization of nations that could deter and repel aggressors, mediate conflicts and broker armistices, and ensure collective progress.

Over the following 75 years, the UN played an essential role in preventing, mitigating or resolving conflicts all over the world. It faced new challenges and new threats — including the spread of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction, a Cold War and brutal civil wars, transnational terrorism and genocides. Today, the UN faces new tensions: shifting and more hostile geopolitics, digital weaponization, a global pandemic, and more.

This slideshow shows how the UN has worked to build peace and security around the world:

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Malians wait in line at a free clinic run by the UN Multidimensional Integrated Mission in Mali in 2014. Over their 75 year history, UN peacekeepers have deployed around the world in military and nonmilitary roles as they work towards human security and peace. Here's a look back at their history.

Photo credit: UN Photo/Marco Dormino

It sounds like a ridiculous, sensationalist headline, but it's real. In Cheshire County, New Hampshire, a transsexual, anarchist Satanist has won the GOP nomination for county sheriff. Aria DiMezzo, who refers to herself as a "She-Male" and whose campaign motto was "F*** the Police," ran as a Republican in the primary. Though she ran unopposed on the ballot, according to Fox News, she anticipated that she would lose to a write-in candidate. Instead, 4,211 voters filled in the bubble next to her name, making her the official Republican candidate for county sheriff.

DiMezzo is clear about why she ran—to show how "clueless the average voter is" and to prove that "the system is utterly and hopelessly broken"—stances that her win only serves to reinforce.

In a blog post published on Friday, DiMezzo explained how she had never tried to hide who she was and that anyone could have looked her up to see what she was about, in addition to pointing out that those who are angry with her have no one to blame but themselves:

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Katie Neeves (L) photo by Jayne Walsh, JK Rowling (R) photo by Sjhill, CC BY-SA 3.0

Dear JK Rowling,

I am writing this letter to say a big thank you to you. You may think it strange that a gobby trans woman such as me would wish to thank you after all your recent transphobic outpourings, but let me explain…

I certainly don't thank you for your lengthy essay last month where you describe the abuse you have suffered (for which you have my sympathy) and in which you stated that you do not hate trans people, while at the same time peddling even more anti-trans mis-information. Sadly, your diatribe directly caused some trans children to self-harm and other to attempt suicide.

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