Grease Bats: Astrology Is Real And Meaningful

Welcome to Saturday Morning Cartoons, a segment where four artists take turns delighting you with their whimsy, facts and punchlines on Saturday mornings! Our esteemed cartoon critters are Cameron Glavin, Archie Bongiovanni, Megan Praz and Yao Xiao. Grease Bats, todays comic, is created by Archie! Be sure to read their new exciting announcement:

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I'm a cartoonist living in Minneapolis. Co-Author and artist of A Quick And Easy Guide To They/Them Pronouns. Author of Grease Bats, coming out Fall 2019 with Boom! Studios! If I'm not working I'm socializing. If I'm not out with friends I'm drawing. If I'm not doing any of those things I'm probably depressed. Support me using Patreon.

Archie has written 117 articles for us.


    • When I was an exchange student in Japan, a girl in my class tried to figure out what my blood type was based on my personality (I didn’t know what it was at the time). She eventually decided that I must be an AB, since, according to her I had a strong mix of A and B traits. In college, I found out that my blood type is actually O. Astrology feels like that to me.

      • the confirmation bias is pretty heavy, yeah. I understand some people find it fun. What mostly makes me uncomfortable is the idea of sorting people into “types” based on something they have no control over. I doubt Straddlers would be down with someone who goes around saying stuff like “you’re a woman so you must be gentle,” “you’re so dramatic, what a blonde,” or “people born in Saint Louis and I don’t get along” but they regularly make the exact same kinds of comments about star signs. It seems dehumanizing to me compared to personality tests that actually ask questions about your personality.

  1. honestly all these anti-astrology folks getting so irritated re: live & let live, i have literally never ever forced a person to talk astrology with me if they don’t want to AND YET i would lose count if i tried to list all the people who told me i’m an idiot for my set of beliefs. WHATEVER guess i’m just a capricorn sun / gemini moon / virgo rising WITH A MARS IN ARIES COME FIGHT ME xoxo

  2. This was wonderful! I generally stay closeted about my dalliances with this kind of stuff, I just don’t see the point in discussing it. I don’t feel like I need to convince anyone of anything and I certainly don’t need to be patronized. I like to explore and consider the possibility there’s something to it without having to defend or explain the urge.

  3. I don’t be meant to be a jerk to people who DO believe in astrology but also at this point “believes in astrology” is a huge red flag for someone who wants to tell me that being positive and eating tumeric will cure me and I DO NOT HAVE TIME FOR THAT.

    I do have time for people who wanna live and let live. I just haven’t met many of those people–people fall pretty far on the extremes of belief re:astrology in my experience.

  4. Oh man, this really bothers me. I absolutely don’t advocate telling anyone they are stupid for their beliefs because it’s fucking rude. And people who do that are fucking rude. But I am really over the idea that people who show healthy skepticism are hollowed out soulless shells, who can’t “believe in anything”. You have people in the queer community who ARE non-religious. Who ARE skeptics. Who ARE atheistic, and the only way Autostraddle chooses to represent them is as scarred, hardened, mean people.

    • I sympathize. I have no problem with people dabbling in astrology. I also have zero problem with paganism (former witchy practitioner).

      But can we also acknowledge that there are skeptical and atheist women that have reason to feel uncomfortable with spiritualism? Can we acknowledge that there’s a whole capitalist industry of astrologers and spiritualists that prey upon people for money? I know that’s a whole different world from people that practice it for fun or spirituality, but it does real harm and is part of the reason why I personally get wary when someone breaks out the astrology books. I’d rather not have those negative experiences casually dismissed.

      It’s really disconcerting to have this aggressive implication that if you’re queer you have to be OK with astrology, otherwise you’re not part of the community or being a jerk. It’s gatekeeping. People should be able to have different beliefs, or be curious about different beliefs, without being labeled as a jerk.

    • The idea that it’s perfectly valid to hold beliefs that contradict all evidence and reason is the source of or the justification for almost all of the political problems our country is dealing with right now. Just because some people do this in a way that isn’t itself directly harmful doesn’t change the fact that a general societal habit of believing in things that are objectively false will result in large numbers of people believing in things that are extremely harmful. And when that happens there is no way of correcting it, because all you can do is prove to people that they are wrong, but they have been taught to ignore proof! And it’s especially difficult when they can say, “Well, what about you? You believe in astrology, so why can’t I believe that fetuses are conscious people at 8 weeks?” They are, after all, equally valid positions to hold.

      Believing in astrology despite the fact that it is physically impossible and empirically proven false is exactly as irrational and embarassing as the Trump supporters who literally believe his inauguration had more people than Obama’s despite being shown side by side comparison photos.

      The fact that some people find it fun doesn’t change how harmful it is to encourage this general habit.

      • …No, this is a different problem?

        The irrational beliefs you’re talking about (apart from being an anti-vaxxer) aren’t just individual irrational beliefs, they’re political positions and they’re generally formed by spending an entire lifetime in conservative pockets of the culture. The people you’re talking about are starting with faulty axioms and faulty evidence. They’re not deliberately believing in something without evidence, they have completely different standards for what evidence is because they come from a completely different cultural space. For example, these are largely religious people who think that nonbelievers are willfully incorrect dumbasses who refuse to believe something incredibly obviously true with tons of evidence because they want to keep committing sins. This isn’t one person thinking fetuses are conscious because it’s kinda fun to play along with the possibilities, it’s a lot of people thinking that fetuses are conscious because of the way they’ve been taught to process information, especially regarding religion and authoritarian power structures. Global warming is similar because conservative politics almost always prioritizes corporate interests over environmental ones, and the conservative layperson is taught to see anything liberals believe as stupid and dishonest.

        The anti-vaxxer movement comes from a health panic around autism and a historically untrustworthy medical establishment. Believing that vaccines might cause health problems is actually more of an issue of being too skeptical – these are people who think that the medical establishment has lied about very important things before, so the bar for proving it’s not lying now is so high that no amount of evidence can ever be pure enough to meet it. There’s also a HUGE amount of scaremongering about autism out there (now that we’ve figured out how to diagnose it better and we’re learning it’s not that rare), much with a scientific veneer, and very little incentive to listen to people with autism about their quality of life or what would be helpful to them. Charities looking to raise money for research into a cure for autism are especially bad about this, and are obviously going to provide a platform for the people going “AUTISM SWALLOWED MY KID’S SOUL AND DESTROYED MY FAMILY” rather than the people going “hey I’m autistic and we could have a decent quality of life if we’re given such-and-such accommodations and people stop abusing us so much.”

        These are specific problems coming out of specific fucked up things about our society. These problems could still happen among atheist skeptics – my atheist skeptic father has exhibited similar patterns of behavior to almost everything I’ve mentioned here. It’s everyone’s responsibility to make sure their beliefs don’t get in the way of other people’s ability to believe whatever they want, but ultimately we’re all a bunch of animals made of meat, grappling with the fact that we’re all going to die and reaching for anything we can to blot out the existential horror, and if thinking you’re a Libra and the universe has some kind of plan for you makes you feel better about any of it, and you’re not being an asshole, then why should anyone else care? There’s no universal meaning to existence and our individual lives are pretty insignificant to the world at large, so why do we owe it to anyone to prioritize rationality? It’s not written on the world any more than anything else.

      • I feel like this is a completely unfair and inaccurate parallel to make. The folks who believe in astrology and/or use it as a tool with which to understand the universe and their internal lives have little to no negative impact on the social and political wellbeing of this country. The same cannot be said what so ever for climate change deniers or anti-choice proponents.

  5. This is… weird.

    To me, Gwen would’ve been completely in the right to say “no, I don’t want to put a ton of time and effort into doing this for you if you don’t actually care”. I don’t do astrology, but I do have other hobbies where what I’m doing is often difficult to explain (writing, game development) and it’s immensely frustrating when people ask to hear about what I’m doing without thinking about whether explaining will be difficult for me to do.

    But there’s nothing wrong with solidly not believing in astrology, either, and Andy shouldn’t need to keep an open mind. Respecting Gwen means respecting her time and letting her have different beliefs without needling her about it, but it doesn’t obligate sharing the same beliefs at all.

    • “Autostraddle is encouraging this insular environment where dissenting opinions receive this kind of ridicule in the comments”
      Thank you for putting into words something that has been bothering me for the longest, not just with this comic but in general

    • Heather and squrrelsrevolt make good points about why I have been so upset lately. The references to astrology and witchcraft and whatever else on this site have reached the level of proselytizing, and these things are now regularly defined as intrinsically queer.

      I don’t like the idea that queer people should be using the same style of thinking as trump supporters and anti-vaxxers. And I especially don’t like the idea that people who agree with me should be made to feel like they aren’t sufficiently queer.

      And further, it’s hypocritical for this site to continually encourage this idea that it’s great to reach conclusions that contradict evidence while simultaneously criticizing other groups for using the exact same logic to reach conclusions that happen to be inconvenient to the autostraddle audience.

  6. Y’alll! One person’s belief system and experiences around that belief system are not ever some kind of sweeping proclamation about how Autostraddle feels about a thing. There are a bazillion people of various intersecting identities with loads of different life experiences who work and write here. Lots of people are really into astrology. Lots of people aren’t. I am one of the people who is not and I’ve written about that so many times on this website. Not in a mean way, just like, “Eh, this isn’t really my thing. It doesn’t fit my life.” Just like there are things I’m SUPER into — ASMR, for example — that other people aren’t into. I love cats; Riese hates cats. I love beer culture; Riese hates beer culture. I love the Heaspace app; Rachel hates that guy who narrates it. There are people who work here who love Riverdale! And people who work here who didn’t like Wonder Woman! You guys, I think onions are Satan’s vegetable and all the other senior eds put them in everything! There are TV shows our writers love that have built queer movements and I think some of them are the worst TV shows in history! Yet, we’re all very great friends and co-workers and members of this community and none of our loves or hates are a reflection of Autostraddle’s loves or hates! It’s just our own personal experiences! No one’s trying to force you to believe something you don’t believe or trying to tell you you’re not part of the community if you don’t believe it! Okay? We love you, we support whatever you believe! This is Archie’s comic and they can write whatever they want about what they believe, or what their fictional characters believe!

    • i just wanted to take a moment out of my cross-country move to clarify that i’m not into onions or astrology

      and also heather reading these comments made my head explode and then there you were, making my head feel calm

      it’s wild how we’re expected both to cover and cater towards a wide range of people from a vast array of backgrounds and interests but also to agree on a unilateral ideology and sets of beliefs and disbeliefs an priorities that are forwarded in everything we publish

  7. I am truly sympathetic to all the folks who have been shamed for believing or not believing in astrology. That’s shitty and not ok. I think being more spiritually inclusive (including non-spiritual or atheist folks) is one of the biggest places we need growth in the queer community.

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