Open thread: Flight of the Firebee

This open thread is brought to you by Flight of the Firebee, a two minute film by Julie Pagano. It’s not embeddable, but it’s one click away from you… A transript follows at the end of the post.

Firebee with fireball

About open threads: open threads are for comments on any subject at all, including past posts, things we haven’t posted on, what you’ve been thinking or doing, etc as long as it follows our comment policy. We’re always looking for fluffy, fun, silly, cute or beautiful open thread starters, please post links to Pinboard with the “gffun” tag.

Film transcript:

The film is in the style of a silent film, with titles alternated with live action shots, and music as the audio track.

[Triumphal music plays.]

Title: Flight of the Firebee

Title: a short film by Julie Pagano

Title: The events and characters in this film are fictitious. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

[ Fade to black. Faster fairground music plays.]

Still image: firebee icon in a white circle.

Title: This is a firebee.

Still image: firebee icon in a white circle.

Title: They have a symbiotic relationship with feminists.

Title: Their primary prey is the patriarchy.

Title: They are known for their attack fireballs.

Still image: fireball on black background.

Title: Proceed with caution.

[Fade to black. Music is silent.]

Title: Today we will follow an ambitious firebee on their mission.

Still image: Firebee on off-white background.

Title: A wild dudebro appears.

Live action: A paper cutout of a short-haired pale-skinned person wearing a t-shirt saying “Tech Bros” is shown stood up on top of a base covering in aluminium foil.

Title: “Women are bad at programming.”

Live action: The cutout is shown again. The wing of a paper firebee is barely visible at the right of the shot.

[Omnious note.]

Live action: The firebee edges into the shot.

Title: “Women are so entitled nowadays.”

[Ominous note.]

Live action: The firebee edges further into the shot.

Title: “BITCHES”

[Ominous note.]

Live action: The firebee moves twice until it is just behind and to the right of the Tech Bro. A fireball appears between them and moves towards the Tech Bro. It disappears, and flames consume the paper Tech Bro. The sound of paper burning is heard as charred paper falls onto the aluminium foil.

Title: The firebee surveyed their handiwork…

Live action: The firebee moves in front of the charred paper into the centre of the shot.

Title: …and was satisfied by the results.

Title: It was time to do more.

Title: It was time to go to…

Title [larger font]: Silicon Valley

[Rock music begins to play]

Live action: Firebee is shown close up, moving out of the shot to the left.

Animation: Map of the United States, with a dot in the north east. The dot becomes a red line marking travel as the map scrolls to show the west coast and the destination, labelled “Silicon Valley”.

[Music ceases. Fast, nervous music begins to play.]

Live action: The word MERITOCRACY drawn Hollywood-sign style on a piece of paper is shown sitting up on a base covered with aluminium foil. The firebee enters right of shot and moves rapdily across the shot to the left and back to the right.

Title: “This cannot stand.”

Live action: The firebee is shown releasing a fireball from right of shot towards the MERITOCRACY sign. The fireball moves backwards and forwards towards the sign, and then the paper catches fire and burns up on the tray. The firebee moves back and forth behind the burned paper.


Title: “My work here is done.”

[Slower, lounge-style music begins play.]

Title: Fin.

Title: No dudebros or firebees were harmed in the making of this film.

[Black screen.]

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About Mary

Mary is a women in tech activist, a programmer, a writer, and a sometime computational linguist. She writes at Her previous projects include co-founding the Ada Initiative and major contributions to the Geek Feminism blog. She's @me_gardiner on Twitter.

9 thoughts on “Open thread: Flight of the Firebee

  1. cecilykane

    I’ve been working on a site about women writing and reading in speculative fiction. Book reviews, author interviews, general news, genre stuff, diversity and representation, etc. — kind of like GF, actually, but just for sci-fi and fantasy books.

    For example, one of the things I discovered recently was the Mythopoeic Society/Award. I’d never heard of it before, and was startled to discover so many of my favorite books and books in my TBR pile amongst its nominees and winners.

    Then I did a bit of mathematical analysis and realized that about 50-60% of its nominees were women authors, and about 70% of its winners were — since its inception in 1971.

    It isn’t an award with feminist roots, like the James Tiptree, Jr. Award, but the gender ratios for its winners are pretty astounding, considering that most SF/F awards are doing *well* if 1/3 of their winners are women.

    Anyway, the site’s a pretty big project and it’s kind of intimidating, but I know of no resource like it, and I sure could have used one years ago.

  2. The Arbourist

    Good day.

    I”m in need of some help if you have time.

    This the point in question is from this blog.

    “But to say that videogames in all are a boys club and they are preventing women from joining, it’s just stupid. […] I hate it when people claim oppression where it isn’t happening.”

    It is my contention that there is a systemic bias against women. I’ve run up against several paywalls in searching for studies that confirm the point that hyper-masuclinity and the boys club problem exist in online gaming culture. I was hoping you could point me in the direction of some peer reviewed studies that I can use in making my arguments.


    1. jlstrecker

      Wow, you made a valiant effort to convince this blogger, but it sounds like they’ve already made up their mind and have set up a huge burden on you to prove that they’re wrong.

      I was going to suggest a case study of one particular video game which I *think* was in a book edited by Lisa Nakamura, but I can’t find it, and even if I could, I don’t think it would meet this person’s requirements for admissible evidence.

      I wonder if this blogger realizes the huge and unwarranted assumption they’re making — that the null hypothesis is no sexism — and that the burden of proof is on you to prove that there is.

      1. The Arbourist


        Thanks for going over to have a peek at the exchange as it were. I’m not sure of what more I could do over there, and really, given the assumptions she believes in, I don’t think any evidence would meet her standards.

        That is what I get for using the WP reader and expecting posts tagged with feminism to well, actually deal with feminism. :)

        1. jlstrecker

          @TheArbourist, ha :)

          For the record, I just remembered the article. It was Erica Kubik, “Masters of Technology: Defining and Theorizing the Hardcore/Casual Dichotomy in Video Game Culture,” in Cyberfeminism 2.0, edited by Radhika Gajjala and Yeon Ju Oh (Peter Lang Publishing, 2012).

          (I had checked out a Lisa Nakamura book at the same time, hence the confusion. But Nakamura’s book had some interesting things to say about race.)

  3. VE

    There’s a situation in a fairly major part of geekdom that needs more attention. Can someone contact me please?

  4. The Arbourist


    Thank you for the citation. It’s always good to have a few lying around for the next MRA/antifeminist who doesn’t believe in sexism. :)

  5. Mel Fisher

    Hi! We’d love to talk to you about your thoughts on fostering a Convention Anti-Harassment Association which would facilitate sharing resources and policy solutions across multiple geek-related conferences and conventions. Your wiki is a fantastic resource, but we think getting cons to “buy in” to a standard set of rules and regulations (at least as a basis for their own) could lend the entire movement an air of gravitas and authority.

    1. Mary Post author

      The policy promotion has moved a bit beyond the space, although it’s on our wiki.

      Probably the best people to talk to are the Ada Initiative, who do paid work on promoting the policy within the open tech and culture space, the team, and Ashe Dryden and other #CoCPledge people to capture people already involved in the energy around this now.

      Disclosure: I co-founded the Ada Initiative, although I’m presently on maternity leave.

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