Anon the Mon asks:

Hey, sorry if this is too personal, but are you gay, or bi, I’ll rule out hetero because I have been on this blog enough to not be stupid, just wondering.

I’m gay.

That’s kind of the whole answer to this question, but Jim the Editor always tells me that two-word answers are bad for #engagement so I feel like I have to say something else without straying into territory that actually would be too personal.  I do think sometimes that being Gay On The Internet means you have a responsibility to act as representation for people who don’t see much of themselves in popular media, and also that, to a certain extent, this is the #relatable #content for which people are here, so maybe it would be, in a certain sense, good for my “brand” if I talked more about it.  I honestly just don’t have much to say, though.  I come from this culture of academic self-effacement, where I feel that, if people find my orientation and my personal life more interesting than my writing, then my writing must be bad.  And I know this is not how internet success actually works; you’re supposed to be a Personality and cultivate parasocial relationships and so on, but trying to be that still feels deeply unnatural to me.

jeffthelinguist asks:

So, as an archaeologist, can you answer the age old question of how much time needs to pass before grave robbing becomes archaeology? What’s the appropriate time period for looting the dead to become acceptable?

I’m assuming you’ve seen the screenshot of an archaeologist commenting, in answer to this question, that this is actually a super awkward and uncomfortable question?  I’m fortunate enough to work in an area where it doesn’t really come up much – we’re all pretty sure that two thousand years is comfortably in the safe zone.  Even then, though… it would be a mistake to think that archaeology can be a pure science, that our study of the past can remain detached from the present. It’s all grave robbing, in a way. The only difference is in how pure your motives are… which is a matter of perspective.

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Herald of Opera asks:

Do you like penguins? (Same question goes for Jim the Editor; I always ask this whenever an opportunity for an unbounded question arises, including careless wording.) (Also, whenever speaking up in favor of Sword & Shield’s National Dex removal, I make sure to mention the absurdly slim chances of Piplup getting in as proof that it hurts me more than it probably hurts them)

Penguins are fµ¢£ing great (and this is our shared opinion, by the way).  They’re birds, but instead of flying they swim!  And on land they’re so waddly and dumb and cute, but in the water they’re so… so… M A J E S T I C.  Piplup remains to this day my favourite Water-type starter, for reasons that I’m not even going to pretend are based entirely in sober design analysis.  And there are gay penguin couples who adopt eggs and chicks, acting as aspirational figures for the LGBT community and filling the hearts of the entire world with warmth and fuzziness.  As long as we’re on penguins, I’m going to direct readers to the Instagram account of the National Aquarium of New Zealand in Napier, home of a colony of New Zealand’s native little blue penguins (scientifically proven to be the smollest and most adorable of all penguins), one of whom each month is designated “good penguin” or “naughty penguin of the month.”  And, of course, I would be doing you all a great disservice if I didn’t tell you that New Zealand is also where several of the oldest species of fossil penguins come from, some of them gigantic fossil penguins as tall as humans, like the new species Crossvallia waiparensis described just a few weeks ago from fossils found in Canterbury.

…so I guess what I’m saying is the answer to your question is “yes.”

The Babadook asks:

In celebration of Pride what’s your ideal queer-themed team? Include nature’s, movesets, abilities and held items?

It’s still June in the US; I’m not too late!

Hmmmmmmmmmmmm…

I feel like… movesets and abilities and held items would mostly have to be really specific jokes that I just don’t think I can do well, being only the G of LGBT and not having all that much insight into the other letters.  We can pick six Pokémon, though, and I think we should probably start with Pokémon who have gender properties that are in some way interesting…

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Vaguely Curious asks:

Hi! Don’t feel any pressure to answer this if you don’t want (I know it’s a bit more personal than most of your questions), but if you don’t mind answering… Are you and Jim the Editor boyfriends? O:
(For context, I know you’re gay [I am too, so it made me so happy when I first saw you mention that], but I don’t know if it’s come up on the blog whether he is, nor if you’re an item.)
Again, sorry if this is too personal or awkward! I’m just curious, ahah.

I don’t think this is the first time it’s come up, but it’s definitely been a while.  Anyway, I can kinda see how people might get that impression, but with apologies to anyone who’s been shipping us – no, Jim and I are not a couple; he’s straight, and lives on a different continent.  We became friends in our last year of high school and studied classics together at university, after which we both went overseas to do our PhDs: me to the US, him to the UK.  He actually just handed in his thesis recently (US PhDs take a lot longer; I still have a couple of years to go), so you could start calling him Dr. Jim the Editor, if you like.  Also, by sheer coincidence (and we only found out about this when he met my parents), Jim’s dad, who is an anaesthesiologist specialising in epidurals, was one of the doctors present when I was born.

Jim the Editor is literally the editor – he proofreads pretty much everything I post here.  This blog was also actually his idea in the first place; we had a lot of friends who used to play Pokémon and thought they might get a kick out of my addled raving about them newfangled gen-V Pokeymans.  I suspect he and I will battle to the death upon the corpse of a fading star at the end of time, when the last words of the gods have faded from memory, but until then, he’s my best friend, and that’s a constant I’m glad to have in my life.

Anonymous asks:

This isn’t a question but I wish I had you as a history teacher when I was in school – history was always my weakest subject and I genuinely enjoy the way you explain things, it actually helps me understand without zoning out!

Sorry for leaving this one languishing in the inbox for so long.  And thank you!  That really means a lot, as someone who, uh… actually does have to teach history sometimes, to students who are often less than enthusiastic at the prospect.