Hi! I hope you are having a great day. As someone who likes DCAU’s Wally West I always wanted to know your opinion about him in the episode “Flash and Substance” (the Flash apreciation episode): Do you think Wally being caring and super nice is a reflection of how awesome he is or he has became a better superhero/person by working with the other Leaguers? Maybe both? Sorry for the lenght of the question, take care :)


Both, I think!

“Flash and Substance” really pinpoints why I love Wally so much as a character. Even with powers, he’s the most human member of the league–and, in a lot of ways, he not only serves as the heart of the team, but keeps it grounded in its collective humanity. That’s been canon since before JLU: in “A Better World,” the sole difference between the Justice League and the Justice Lords is a living Wally West.


But “Flash and Substance” is the first time we really see the Flash in his element. In the League, he comes off as a goof-off and often as a minor player, and “Flash and Substance” is where we learn why. Wally is essentially a local hero. His heroics, and even his relationship to his villains, are grounded in his community. His day job is in law enforcement–specifically, the less flashy end of it. He fights supervillains, but that’s a relatively small aspect of how he engages with the people of Central City. (We get a glimpse of that earlier, too, in another of my favorite episodes, “Comfort and Joy.”) He’s just a really, really good dude.


If Batman is the mastermind/general of the league, Flash is the social worker. He’s not solving global problems, but he knows every single person he’s encountered by name, and he treats them all like people.

There’s a scene midway through the episode that gets discussed a lot, where the Flash, Batman, and Orion encounter the Trickster in a villain bar. They’re trying to get info on a rogues’ plot to attack the opening of the Flash Museum–and this, above all other moments, is where you see why the Flash is so goddamn great.

Batman and Orion, true to form, are ready to beat the information out of the Trickster. Flash, horrified, calls them off, sits down with the Trickster at the bar, and gently convinces him not only to tip the heroes off to the other rogues’ plans, but to check himself back into the psychiatric hospital from which he’s escaped with a promise of a visit and a game of darts (”the soft kind”). (And you know he’s gonna follow through, too, because of “Comfort and Joy.”)


Orion is floored. Batman is impressed. Flash is nonplussed: to him, this is how being a superhero works.

And that’s why Wally West is the best guy in the Justice League, and “Flash and Substance” is my favorite episode of JLU.


This is great, and also reminds me of a lot of what I like about William Messner-Loebs’ run on Flash in the late ‘80s; the idea of Wally treating supervillains as people and operating as super social worker as much as anything comes pretty much directly from that run. Mark Waid’s Wally is great, and some of my favorite superhero comics, but Messner-Loebs’ Wally – as wonderfully messy and anxious and uncertain as he is – is the origin point for the character that Jay’s talking about here. 

But what is so seductive about 1997 is that it represents an exceptionally unusual model of modernity in British political life, where the nation’s endemic post-imperial nostalgia could be cast aside as much as that of the welfare state and Labour’s socialist past. Although it is now widely criticized for being excessively “cosmopolitan,” flag-waving was always part of New Labour’s vision—the most famous image of 1997 is of Blair arriving in Downing Street to find an adoring (Party-organized) crowd waving little Union Jacks. This was in the service of a country rebranded. One of Blair’s vacuous but utterly optimistic books is titled New Britain: My Vision for a Young Country. The 2005 manifesto is called Britain Forward Not Back. 1940, 1945, 1974, and 1979 are full of haunting possibilities, roads not taken, memories transformed into monoliths. Yet the same could be said of 1997, when Labour had a gigantic electoral mandate for a transformation of Britain into a more equal, more open, more modern, less cruel country, but decided that the means to achieve all this was to trust in the sensible bankers and reliable outsourcing companies. It’s the resulting failure that has let the ghosts back in, and nobody seems able to exorcise them yet.

When you hear someone say “dark social,” they’re bemoaning the inability to get click reports off of actual conversation. Because when you see someone on the street head-down in their phone and dabbing away at the screen, they’re not cut off from the outside world. They’re talking to people. Fuck your Black Mirror narrative – they’re just more interested in a window to their friends and family than they are in you peering at them in judgement.

Random Idea

A limited run podcast where, each episode, a different writer reads a newly-written, ~5 minute story inspired by a song selected by a curator, followed by said song playing in its entirety. After 5 episodes (and 5 songs), the curator explains why each song was chosen. The season lasts 6 episodes, and then any subsequent season, should there be one, has a different curator.

A cover of one of my favorite Beatles songs by the first all-girl rock band to have an album released by a major label. (They were the third all-female rock band to be signed by a major label, but neither of the other two made it to the album stage.) 

John Montgomery, a psychologist in New York City and adjunct professor at New York University, said “it’s hard to say definitively without rigorous testing” of Trump’s speaking patterns, “but I think it’s pretty safe to say that Trump has had significant cognitive decline over the years.”

No one observing Trump from afar, though, can tell whether that’s “an indication of dementia, of normal cognitive decline that many people experience as they age, or whether it’s due to other factors” such as stress and emotional upheaval, said Montgomery, who is not a Trump supporter.

Even a Trump supporter saw and heard striking differences between interviews from the 1980s and 1990s and those of 2017, however. “I can see what people are responding to,” said Dr. Robert Pyles, a psychiatrist in suburban Boston. He heard “a difference in tone and pace. … What I did not detect was any gaps in mentation or meaning. I don’t see any clear evidence of neurological or cognitive dysfunction.”

Johnson cautioned that language can deteriorate for other reasons. “His language difficulties could be due to the immense pressure he’s under, or to annoyance that things aren’t going right and that there are all these scandals,” he said. “It could also be due to a neurodegenerative disease or the normal cognitive decline that comes with aging.” Trump will be 71 next month.

Coming back to Tumblr after a few months – even longer since I’ve used it in any appreciable way beyond updating the Wait, What? account – one of the most interesting things is how many accounts I was following that have more or less gone dark. It feels like mainstream culture has moved it to… I have no idea, what is the current social media du jour these days, anyway? It’s interesting; I’m wanting to change the information going into my brain lately, so we’ll see whether Tumblr’s shifting output does that for me, I guess.

For the first time in 17 years, Fox spent an entire week in third place in prime time in the all-important 25-to-54 year-old demographic. The last time Fox found itself in that ditch, Bill Clinton was president of the United States, Gladiator was in theaters, and Jesse Watters was in college.

Strange days, indeed. (From tonight’s CNN Reliable Sources newsletter.)