Miscellanneous up-catching:

I seem to be on a mission to destroy myself. On Saturday I bit nearly halfway through my tongue in a restaurant (I can eat non-soft foods -- but nothing hot -- again with my entire mouth since yesterday, so it's all good, but I've developed a measure of sympathy for people with tongue studs) and I've somehow managed to lacerate four of my cuticles. It's like I took paper to myself and just sliced away on purpose. I'm not sure how this happened, but I think it might be related to hanging up Christmas lights. Support your local liquid-bandage industry!

The combination of Octavian Nothing and To Ride Hell's Chasm is going to contribute to this destruction, I think. Two books on the systematic dehumanization of dark-skinned people. Hooray.

How can I explain this -- these are very socially correct books, and I obviously don't have a problem with the message that "being mean to darker folks isn't very moral." Perfectly happy to get that message out there.

Buuuuuut...this isn't news to me, this isn't a lesson I need to be taught or a new POV that I've been unaware of, and it really just feels...unrelenting. That's it, there is an extremely unrelenting quality to these works. It's not making me feel like more of a Real Person. It's making me feel battered. Reading time is my escape place, and here I am escaping to a place where the majority of the people would either hate and distrust me or feel that I was furniture. Bleagh. Been there and read that repeatedly, and all that jazz.

I am going to finish them if it kills me, though, because they are well written books. REALLY good, especially "Octavian Nothing." *sob* But I suspect I am not the target audience, even if their authors might think I am.

So I'm reading them in small increments. Interspersed with Fumi Yoshinagi manga. (After "Flower of Life," I have a hard time believing anything anywhere NEAR as joyful as Fumi Yoshinagi manga can exist on earth.)

Also FINALLY read the classic "The Black Cauldron" over Thanksgiving (I'd forgot!) for the first time ever, which is surprising considering the trajectory of my fantasy fanhood. Never encountered it in my childhood, when it might have worked better. I’d tried to read the series before, back in the mid-’90s. The series was in the university library. I dunno. So this time I nicked it from a friend's childhood bedroom. ^__^ (It's okay! I did not remove it from said bedroom.)

Holy redemption-through-assault, is all I gotta say. Jaysus. Better-plotted than the Disney version, though. (Though I still have a small measure of affection for the Disney version -- also first encountered as an adult.)

Oh and — saw finally saw “Where the Wild Things Are,” which was lovely and moving, with one major flaw. (I think Tavie touched on this.)

It’s hard to spoil this extremely simple and basic story, but I’ll lj-cut anyway:

spoilers rot-13'd )

At any rate, the atmosphere is beautiful, the acting great, and the kid who plays Max is a treasure. (For which the director has to get at least half-credit. Directing kids is an undersung talent. This guy got kid Max to act and speak like a kid on-camera -- very natural, with all the pauses and stutters and idiosyncracies that real-life speech has -- instead of like a precocious, punchline-declaiming cuteness generator.)

I think its biggest success is that it made the tiny fears, disappointments and tragedies of normal childhood seem as big and significant as they do when you're actually a child. Which is what it set out to do. So, good film. Go see.
On the one hand, this Ta-Nehisi thread ("A Beige Future") is a great thread. On the other, I do not honestly believe I know ANYONE at all who doesn't know this stuff already. :-D

And yes, variety is good and sameness doesn't solve everything, or much of anything at all. People are people and power is power. (ROBOT UNDERCLASS! ENSLAVE THE DROIDS! ASIMOVIAN LAWS! EXPLOIT THE -- ahem. Excuse me. I don't know WHERE that came from...)
The Tragedy and Betrayal of Booker T. Washington

Really good Ta Nehisi post on the derailment of the black conservative tradition in the U.S.

I've been (slowly) making my way through this Booker T. Washington biography. It really is a great read. But that aside, I think that it also highlights a great tragedy in race relations in this country. Washington is arguably the most effective and powerful black conservative in this country's history.


You must understand the chilling effect this had to have on black people. To actually concede to all the racist propaganda out there, and then to be rewarded by hooligans burning down your community must have been psychologically devastating. People wondering why the GOP can't get a foothold in the black community, need to not just think about Goldwater and Nixon. They should think about Du Bois telling black men to go fight in The Great War, and then having those veterans come home to the Red Summer of 1919. They should think about the pogroms that greeted Booker T's compromise. There's a lot of hurt out there. A lot of ancient hurt. A lot of it, even in these times, quite deep.
Anti-gay preachers Fred Phelps and Shirley Phelps-Roper banned from Britain

I should have something sage and salient to say here about freedom of speech and "I hate your guts but I defend your rights to the death" or whatever, but I'm too busy feeling smug. Look, this is my JOURNAL, not my dissertation. ~____^ Feelings given free reign. Or something. I am only a frail human. Therefore... WHOO HOO!

ADDENDUM -- and elsewhere: This is pretty much the page I'm on about that New York Post Cartoon.

I have to ask myself, though, in light of this, how exactly do I feel about the worldwide "Bush is a monkey" meme that circulated the planet time and time again over the past near-decade? And how I feel is this: Bush isn't forced to represent anyone but himself, and there are no serious anthropologists out there trying to use his unique person to prove his entire 1/3rd of the human race is really-truly a different [sub]species. (No, I am not kidding. I have been reading some appalling assertations about Pymgies and Bushmen lately.) So yeah, the assumption of an equal playing field there is basically a heaping supersize serving of prime A-quality bullshit. On the other hand...bigger fish to fry, y'know? With hot oil popping at my face and the countertop and causing havoc, even. (Too much metaphor? ^______^)

Plus, I can't boycott what I would never buy (unless at gunpoint) anyway.
The times we live in are now, officially and beyond the shadow of doubt, too interesting for me. I don't understand, I don't understand, I. Do. Not. Understand.

Racists and Antisemites for Obama

No, REALLY. The Chairman of the American Nazi Party:

"White people are faced with either a negro or a total nutter who happens to have a pale face. Personally I'd prefer the negro. National Socialists are not mindless haters. Here, I see a white man, who is almost dead, who declares he wants to fight endless wars around the globe to make the world safe for Judeo-capitalist exploitation, who supports the invasion of America by illegals--basically a continuation of the last eight years of Emperor Bush. Then, we have a black man, who loves his own kind, belongs to a Black-Nationalist religion, is married to a black women--when usually negroes who have 'made it' immediately land a white spouse as a kind of prize--that's the kind of negro that I can respect. Any time that a prominent person embraces their racial heritage in a positive manner, it's good for all racially minded folks. Besides, America cares nothing for the interests of the white American worker, while having a love affair with just about every non-white on planet Earth. It'd be poetic justice to have a non-white as titular chief over this decaying modern Sodom and Gomorrah."

My brain hurts.

(It makes sense in a warped way, if you consider that these dudes are more about racial purity (he married a black woman, the white women are safe) than about killing us, although I'm not sure how true that statement is, and anyway wouldn't they have the same damn issues with a fellow who is half and half? Overall it seems less like a rationale and more like bitterness -- "if America won't be what *I* want, then let the colored rabble have it." And McCain pals around with a Jewish senator, Leiberman -- that can't sit well. Good lord, does this mean that these guys LIKE DUDES LIKE FARRAKHAN???)

Truly, boils are being lanced left and right in our motherland.

(Seriously, I would not be that much more freaked if they told me the Old Ones were rising.)
(Then again, I am easily freaked.)

Okay, a few people have asked me pretty much the same things now, so let me just go through it once and for all.

1. No, nobody just showed up in my LJ and began spontaneously rattling around. I made the first move. I was Googling a work-related topic, and (to my vast disgust) could only find exactly TWO links that even remotely dealt with the topic. I made an overture to each, and invited discussion.

2. What I'm seeing as a major part of the core disagreement here is pretty valid -- it's been argued for far longer than I've been alive and I'm sure it will continue when all of us are dust. I have, however, come down on a side:

I am not an absolutist. I believe in situational ethics. I believe, very strongly, that context is key. I believe, within reason!!, in relativism. So yes, I do believe that members (and to an extent, associates) of a group have the right to terminology concerning the group that outsiders do not share. In an ideal world I've no doubt it would be different, but as it stands, there is a dynamic of enforced inferiority and superiority that is impossible when the people in question are from the same group. Or, in layman's terms, family is family. I will tease my baby sister. YOU try it, and I'll take you down.

So the young woman in question saw my use of the adjective "blackish" ["black(ish?)" to be precise] as a diminutive, and therefore disrespectful. I put it forth, however, as a shorthand, lighthearted query to an audience that had absolutely no reason to misunderstand me (via cunning use of flags use of punctuation. A query which, by the way, none of you have answered yet. You're totally going to make me go to those obnoxious IMDB message boards with the 13-year-olds, aren't you. ;-)

We are coming from entirely different directions, essentially. Misinterpretation is, therefore, all too easy. She is coming from an arena where a disturbingly large amount of fanfiction writers are being arguably exploitative of black sexuality.

I am coming from an arena where the very presence of a black child (in the 21st century!) on the cover of an international magazine STILL returned us the lowest newsstand sales of that entire year. (I have since quit and gone elsewhere, and am not aware if they tried it again in the interim. But there was a quantifiable difference between that cover and the cover featuring an East Asian child -- and even that one wasn't anywhere nearly as high as the regular "mainstream" covers, either. And I could go on about the whys and wherefores of that all day. I might, sometime. God, there is fodder. Industrywide fodder. There have been so many thwarted attempts, and blame is, surprisingly, not all that easily pinned.)

I'm coming from an arena where, for example, I've had a colleague who has never heard of fanfiction call me repeatedly, once in tears, because she could not find a single Asian or black celebrity "mainstream" and "recognizable-to-the-audience" enough to satisfy the editor-in-chief for an article on celeb dads, in time for deadline. (We have Denzel and Will, apparently, and THAT IS ALL. *headdesks bloody* And South Asia does not exist. Oy.* )

I'm in arena in which (where I am now) we've gotten letters of abject, tearful gratitude for the one black (non-U.S., in this case) face we've had on the cover in what I'm willing to bet is two years. (Not to mention the long-ass fight I had to have with the story editor over why it was simply not accurate -- not a house style question, NOT a query for the ed-in-chief, NOT a reason to call any meetings, but a very, very simple FACTUAL INNACURACY, a freaking lie if you will -- to call the woman "African-American" when she wasn't from the bloody U.S.) (Not to mention as well the outright unvarnished racial segregation in certain bookstores which is pretty much guaranteeing that black authors -- and other authors of color overall, but this chain is ONLY Jim Crowing segregating Af-Am and nobody else -- will continue to earn significantly less than their white counterparts for the same amount of work. The same TYPE of work. Even if the white counterparts choose to feature characters of color.)

So yeah, my goals, and my instinctive reactions, are gonna be quite different. We are still fighting for basic visibility, really.

I do not anticipate any further interaction concerning this, to be honest. Not because of any of the above, which are extremely discussable points.

Partially because [livejournal.com profile] ladyegreen appears to kind of like me, a bit. (Boy, do I have her fooled. ~___^ BAHAHHAHAHAHA!!!)

But mainly because...hmmm. There is a dynamic that my own nature tends to allow to flourish, to my detriment; a dynamic of supplication. It's taken me a lot of years to identify and become able to nip in the bud. It's not a dynamic of peers, or equals, and it's...pretty toxic. Therefore, *nip*. Namely:

I will not be a supplicant. I will be submitting no applications for worthiness to be spoken to. And although I think, or I like to think, that I am pretty open to discussing most anything with anybody as a peer -- at least as long we're all following as certain basic logic-class parameters -- I will not be taking lessons in How to Be Properly Black from someone who, if I am to go by her statements, seems to have been in high school on my 30th birthday.**

So yeah. Not incredibly interested in pursuing that again ever.

She is talented, and I wish her well. Her generation will have a lot to offer the world, but the world is looking increasingly vile in a great many new and disconcerting ways, from where I'm standing. They will need to be smart, strong, and fairly silver-tongued. If they want anyone to listen at all.

*I think that was around the time [livejournal.com profile] luckykitty introduced me to Oded Behr? (yum ^_^) Which...thank you! But sadly he didn't come anywhere near enough to satisfying the "of color" criteria we were given.

** Jesus H. Christ on a vinyl record... 0_o

EDIT. Meh. I had disabled the comments, but you know what? I think anyone who would even bother to comment on this one is quite mature enough not to let it devolve into either a hate- or a woobiepoorthing-fest. There's plenty of fodder for objective discussion. So! Moving on, and on to the issues of import.
Good lord, this is amazing.

Welcome to the Women of Color and Beauty Carnival

A collection of well written, insightful and emotional essays.


"I think some of them are secretly mad because we get to define "clean" and "messy" and "neat" for ourselves, while they're stuck with definitions that are centuries old...not realizing of course the fight we had to go through to be able to own our own definition for those words." -- supafrosh

The dialog has utterly stagnated, people's opinions are based on humongous fallacies and not fact, and I see it getting far, far worse before it gets better. (Not to mention financial ruin encourages scapegoating.)

(Of course, you already knew I was a pessimist. ^__^ I have a feeling if I went by my life, and not by the distilled evil that is the Internet and its bloggish message boards, I'd be far calmer.)

In further news: Orson Scott Card, I am very upset with you. (And no, I will not help spread his idiocy by linking. WHY is it always the talented ones...)
An interesting take from Stephen L. Carter, Yale Law professor.
Affirmative Action Largely Irrelevant to Black American Poor

Those who suffer most from the legacy of racial oppression are not competing for spaces in the entering classes of the nation's most selective colleges. Millions of them are not finishing high school.

I don't know how I feel about this. As someone who never directly benefited from any affirmative action (I didn't need it, I went to cheap-ass educational facilities ^___^) -- but often "accused" of having done so -- I have no idea what my final opinion on this is. That is, I know what my ideal is, but not so much how to work my ideals in reality.
Why did they need a study to determine this?

w00t!! Study Shows Black People Don't All Think in Psychic Monolithic Lockstep

Oh my god, are they SURE???? Well who knew? They better do another backup study on whites and Asians and Latinos just to check! Well, whew, at least we can rest assured the peoples of Nunavut and Oceania are still operating on a Borglike hive mind... wait, what?


(Oh wait, it's USA Today, that really progressive and intelligent newspaper that felt the need to reassure us that Koreans WERE HUMAN after VA Tech.)

(I need to be on the Internet less.)

(I definitely need to never read comments boards on this sort of crap again.)
I have a million things piling up that I want to post about. I'll wind up posting about none of them, I'm sure, which I find sad. This one is seriously starting to irk me, though.

I Have Loved...

Er, Borders? What the hell is going on? I remember when you were the one last bastion of awesome because you refused to play into the system of remaindering. You went up against Barnes and Noble, and you didn't win, but your integrity in supporting authors was noted.

That was then. This is now.

When I go to a Barnes and Noble, say for example the one in Union Square, I see a section on the top floor across from Sci-Fi called "African American Interest." It's full of photo essays, history books, sociology books -- sundry nonfiction like that. It's next to the sections on "Judaica," "Asian American Interest," "Native American Studies," "Hispanic Studies," and so on. Adjacent to "Sociology," "Gender Studies," "Gay and Lesbian," "Biography," "Religion," et cetera. This is logical and makes sense.

When I go to a Borders, say for example the Borders at Madison Square Garden, I see sections entitled "New," "Sci-Fi," "Romance," "Mystery," "Literature," "Literary Criticism," "Poetry," "Horror," and "African American Literature."

I spent a really long time looking for a novel yesterday in the sci-fi section -- bafflingly long -- trying to find a sci-fi book. Because it was a book of, you know, sci-fi. By a writer who is known as, and has won awards as, and is established and entrenched as a writer of -- please say it with me now -- SCI-FI.

After much searching along the wall, then succumbing to the computerized database (I know, I coulda gone there first but it became a point of honor) I found it. In "African American Literature" -- a single bank of awkwardly placed back-to-back shelves, close enough to the register to keep folks from stealin', far away enough from the main browsing floor areas to go completely ignored, adjacent to the poetry. Alongside Zane's lesbian erotica, Barack Obama's memoir, LA Banks' vampire-huntress horror stories, Toni Morrison, Ntozake Shange, Toni Cade Bambera, and the fiction and critical social essays of James Baldwin.

The fuck?

I have hated... )

Thesis Statement: At a purely practical level -- how am I supposed to find what I'm looking for if it's divided not by genre and subject matter but SOLELY by the race of the author? )

Writer Monica Jackson (whom I can't find at Borders AT ALL, except under Web-order) graciously provides me with a corporate address at which I may direct my ire. Thank you, Monica Jackson.

100 Phoenix Drive
Ann Arbor, MI 48108



*power salute*
This column annoys me at times. But I like this. Quite a lot.

Class prejudice is just as ugly as racism and misogyny

It's amazing that we need to be told this, here. But we do.
Marchers Honor King on 40th Anniversary of His Death

Forty Years Gone

My best friends (well two of 'em) are 54 and 38. Not so long ago, in the general scheme of things...
Or, "Reifying Race"
(A little something I wrote last year. It stewed, became relevant again, and embiggened. ~__^)

I am not a monad: I'm not indivisible; I'm not a single faceless interchangeable part of a homogeneous greater whole; I am more than the sum of my concrete, measurable parts. And I will not be subsumed; I will not disappear.

This post is written from a U.S.-centric point of view.

My senior year of college, in literary theory class, I was taught the term "reification." It means, simply, "to make real." To take an abstract and to treat it like a solid, to take the theoretical and treat it as though it were tangible (in order to make it discussable at all). Also important -- to recognize that the intangible view of the thing is not necessarily less valid than the tangible, but that to fail to differentiate can be disastrous.

Example. "Democracy." Nice word. Positive connotations. Millions of people feeling warm and fuzzy when they hear it (a tangible result, come to think of it -- this is chemical, and therefore physically measurable ~__^).

Democracy is not an object. It cannot be bottled, or held in the hands, or studied in a lab. People cannot even agree on what it is. In the cantons of Switzerland, people go out and vote individually on issues. (It takes a while.) In the U.S., citizens hold popularity contests vote to choose representatives who will pack up and go to a small city that is not actually affiliated with any State and has no representation in Congress to go and vote on issues. (Still takes a while, actually.) In, what, ancient Athens or whatever, voting on issues happened, but only amongst a small elite group of resident men of a certain income. All of these places do/did describe what they were doing as "democracy."

It's fluid, it's abstract, it's subject to interpretation, and yet people refer to it as something that can be "spread" or "shared" or even "owned." We call it "living" and "vibrant" and add to it anthropomorphic and other traits that it may or may not have, but does not necessarily have by definition. Universality, desirability to all people, inherent moral value. We use the phrase "our democracy" (generally just a heartwarming little example of synecdoche in which "democracy" stands in for "nation," but sometimes as an actual possession) -- it is a very, very malleable and esoteric thing, but it would take a prime idiot *coughGARYKAMYIAcough* a really, really specific sort of intractable and nonempathetic mind-set to conclude that this sort of thing therefore did not exist*.

Just because something is not dissectible or viewable under a microscope does not mean 1. That it has no existence as a concept or 2. That is has no quantifiable effect on the lives of real people or 3. That it doesn't matter.

Democracy. Different sorts of "-isms." "Rights." "Citizenship."

(Er, has anybody seen a quark yet? I'm not a physicist. ^______^)

How far you wanna go? "Ethnicity"? "Language?" (Heck, Swedes and Norwegians understand each other quite well, and I've heard tell that some small subsets of Lithuanians are supposed to be able to muddle through Sanskrit. Difference between Hindi and Urdu? Nearly purely political. And when exactly does a pidgin graduate to a patois, or a creole to a bona fide language?)


How fluid are these things, and who gets to define them, and how different are the things they bring to mind for different people? (Emphasis on the word "DIFFERENT." Which is not a dirty word.)

Since they're vague, since they don't "exist" in any consistently, uniformly, universally quantifiable form, shall we put the kibosh on mention of all these things? Shall we deem them irrelevant? And go the rest of our days gingerly talking around them?

How 'bout "race?"

Especially U.S.-centric bits coming up now )

Next-day edit after being COMPLETELY unable to let this go to an extent that scares me a bit:

I was gonna lj-cut that, but eh.

In light of the following, people need to be pretty effing circumspect when telling other people how to refer to themselves, I think.

1. Language was the first thing that enslaved Africans in the "New World" were deprived of in order to make them easier to control -- same-tribe/same-language people were separated at every opportunity.

2. Native Americans, same thing. In many learning institutions geared toward assimilating children speaking anything but the "target tongue" would result in corporal punishment. (Not even getting into the whole evangelism and rooting-out-of-previous-belief-system business.)

3. Gaelic languages have nearly disappeared because of this same thing. Really, it's an established technique across the board, I'd think.

4. 20th-century Japanese occupation of Korea, same deal.

5. Heh. As a kid, my dad sat up in his Port Antonio, Jamaica, elementary school singing "When I was an apprentice in fair Lincolnshire." Never set foot in England in his life. Okay, that one just makes me (and my family) giggle. I needed a giggle there. Shaddup. ^_________^

6. Groups of people who have managed to maintain a cohesive identity throughout exile, oppression and dispersion did it primarily through language. Retaining the language enabled them to retain major, vital aspects of their culture. I'm thinking of Jewish people, Koreans in China, Haitians in New York City, Cajuns ...the folk of Bretagne, to an extent...

7. I am wrong, aren't I, in thinking this "oooh, don't talk in terms of race" nonsense only comes up when it's an Obama or a Tan talking about how who they are affected how they grew up and developed their sense of self, and not when a Watson is all "anyone who has had black employees knows how blame stupid they are amIrite" -- right? It's because of the nature of the things I tend to read, right? SOMEONE must have used that argument against Watson. Right? RIGHT? *is plead-y* (It's still a crap argument, but it's far less infuriating when deployed against the vile. No fair, I know, I know...)

8. One of my UCL classmates was a Swedish girl who told me that because she had learned lit-crit in English, she could not do any of her assignments in Swedish -- she had trouble even thinking about her literary theory courses in her native tongue. She lacked the vocabulary. (Luckily -- as UCL is an English institution, I think I can safely call it that? predominantly English-language at least -- this conversation was pretty theoretical.)

9. Language matters.
I'm gonna just come out and say some stuff, because I am sick of prefacing all my opinions on this topic with disclaimers and apologies. Because I'm not sorry.

So. People who know me well already know that my feelings are very fatalistic if not downright nihilistic. I feel that I and my fellow citizens are the subjects of some massively ill-timed social experimentation and idealism. I find what the Democratic party has been pulling to be kind of admirable, in its way, but also mind-bogglingly fanciful (oh, let me just say it -- and fucking stupid).

Still, I am constantly surprised by how this is turning out. The amount of people who still sincerely believe that the next president will be a Democrat and there's no WAY it could turn out otherwise -- that the candidates we are have are actually viable -- I'm surprised. And while I am still filled with so much doubt, I'm not nearly as bitter with it as I was. I have definite opinions on what the United States is and is not ready for and what it will and will not accept, but this view is getting challenged more and more each day, which I think is a good thing, and although I am too afraid of disappointment to let go of my cynicism, I am seriously liking a lot of what I'm discovering about my country.

(Dammit. Was that a disclaimer?)

I've got plenty of other sources of disappointment, anyway:

Bill? )

Andrew Young? )

Geraldine Ferraro? )

Wrote my friend, J. (who is white, female, a professional, and over fifty, and actively involved in Dem politics local and national since the '70s -- prime demographic material, yo) in an open letter:

>> If you had been genuinely engaged in a comparison between the handicaps
>> caused by racism and sexism, and your comments had been taken out of
>> context, the appropriate response would be to say you were misquoted and
>> explain the true context, not to attack Barack Obama's campaign for
>> calling transparently racist comments racist. Instead you say: "every
>> time that campaign is upset about something, they call it racism." And
>> with that reaction, you not only give quarter to the begrudging bigots
>> of this country, but you set back feminism, giving aid and comfort to
>> every man who uses that same sort of statement to defend or dismiss
>> sexist behavior.
>> These are the tactics of the Reagans, Bushes and Carl Roves of the
>> world. I expect them in a general election, from Republicans--not from
>> a Democrat's campaign, and certainly not from you whom I have, until
>> now, respected.

I couldn't possibly put it better than that.

And Hillary Clinton. )

God. Hillary, I so loved it when you trounced Guilianni and wiped the floor with the other little dude whose name eludes me because it is unimportant, because you made it so. I have talked you up at home and abroad; I have defended you from criticisms from quarters I never saw coming. Inasmuch as I, one woman, one American, am allowed to speak such a general opinion -- you need to quit proving me wrong. You need to shuck this garbage. Aloud and in words, you need to disclaim this crap, Ms. Clinton. At the moment, reflexively, I'm still holding you aloof from your so-called supporters. But if you don't...

Well then you're not a Democrat, Ms. Clinton. And that has fuck-all to do with your gender.

I feel betrayed by these people. That's the main thing.

I am furious at the whole party for letting it all come to this. The British parliamentary system -- where you vote for a PARTY that puts forth a PLATFORM of ISSUES and IDEAS, and then the ministers themselves appoint a prime minister -- is looking better and better to me by the second.

With many of my colleagues I kind of long for the days of the smoky back room.


(This whole post is extremely likely to be dismissed by some -- some of whom I could name, some of whom I actually love -- as "you're obsessed with race" or "you see everything through a lens, don't you." All I could possibly say in response to that would... be really impolite. Really. But know that I'm thinking it. Hard.)
"Bitch is the new Black."

Everything about this phrase offends me.

1. The hell? Sexism isn't "new", and the "bitch" denigration isn't a recently discovered concept. [deleted -- insensitive comment about the privileged* thinking things are new just because the things in question are only just now biting them in the ass.] Sexism is and continues to be the oldest and most pervasive prejudice in the goddamned world. Sexism pervades all the other prejudices. It is entwined like a parasite at the root of homophobia; its vocabulary comes into play to denigrate and objectify whole nations of people as inherently "effeminate" or "wild," "oversexed," "animalistic"; it's used as a rallying cry, "save the women from the [insert adjective] hordes!" for nearly every movement vile or noble that ever was -- it's not something that has just recently supplanted race prejudice. And only by making that point can I make the following:

2. Corollary: Not only is racial and ethnic prejudice not new either -- it's also not obsolete. Just because anti-black discrimination is no longer LEGAL in the U.S. doesn't mean it has GONE AWAY. And the legislation was not done away with all that long ago -- just a couple of years before I was born. AND legislation does NOT automatically change people's hearts and minds. And pointing that shit out is NOT automatically "playing a race card." (And while it's undeniable that some people do play such cards, you would think that knowing somebody and talking to them for ten or so years would give you a clue as to how their opinions might be formed and how valid they are and how prone they are or are not to exaggeration, and might actually listen rather than dismissing them out of hand, no I'm not talking to anyone in particular, why would you get that impression? ;-D )

3. Also, NONE of this exists in a fucking vacuum. Proving that one group's prejudice "does not exist" or "is not as bad what I suffer" does not automatically prove that yours does exist -- if anything, just the opposite -- you play DIRECTLY into the hands of those who would denigrate and dismiss us all as crybabies with vivid imaginations.

The more we bicker over the who-is-most-oppressed, the more we will all be even more oppressed. It is not a competition, and there is absolutely no prize.

Heh. I am actually out of breath. )

This is not the damn time to be scoring talking points on racism versus sexism. Not unless we ALL address BOTH these things in light of the following: )

This is the time during which we need to be scoring talking points about the selfishness and entitlement that stifles and crushes the individual, versus the shared goals and needs that can be addressed to allow the individual to flourish -- and which system of government, and which philosophy of political power, more accurately embodies either of those. The Democratic establishment are playing right into the hands of those who would divide and conquer, and I despair.

*And yeah, depending on the context, I do include myself in there: I am Western and middle class.
**And oh my lord, isn't that the POINT we've been trying to make for centuries!!!??
***Am I the only one that is bugged by this? I totally blame the Boomers. :-D
**** Whoops. Okay, that last book is not quite on-topic as I presented it, but it's still pretty damn scary so read it anyway.
This one's long and therefore contains LJ cuts for your convenience. Perhaps tabbed browsing would be optimal? *strikes pretentious pose* *looks at you over spectacles* ^__^

I think this is the last thing I'm going to write on the topic of Heath Ledger, because to be quite honest, I'm not nearly as obsessed with this in my real offline life as I'm starting to appear here (and also because y'know, er, I'm not willing to deal with, for example, doing an in-depth analysis of the Gazans who busted into Egypt yesterday morning, into which they should probably have been freely allowed and possibly annexed as a respected province with full rights and citizenship freaking FIVE DECADES ago when Egypt was fully in charge of administrating the place, on LiveJournal, ahem.

I liked being angry better than the melancholy. )

So, Cloverfield, then.

I dunno -- I think it's really strange, and am not quite sure if it's the best idea, for New Yorkers to watch Cloverfield in New York. There are two options: 1) The "oh my god that's my bank!/my job!/my best friend's apartment! Now I'm scared to take the subway home!!!" interpretation, or the 2) "oh for God's sake, you CANNOT get to Columbus Circle on the 6 train, it goes completely to the opposite side of the CITY, like duh!" interpretation. Partially because of discrepancies like this, and partially because the acting was quite bad, frankly, I found myself most often shoved into interpretation 2.

Overall, though, I liked it, more or less -- not least because it didn't scare me at all. (I KNOW! Either this film was utterly wusstastic or I'm finally growing up!) I like the idea of it, anyway.

So, impressions of Cloverfield without spoiling (and dividing the valid movie stuff from the nitpicky New Yorker stuff):

excessively nitpicky New Yorker stuff )

General Stuff )

Very extremely negative and irritating stuff ) ....and while we're on the subject:)

Slusho annoys the crap out of me. (Slusho is a fake product existing only in the JJverse.)

Actually, J.J.Abrams' whole "hinting" schtick annoys the hell out of me. I used to argue that dammit, if you're going to tell a story, tell the damn story, don't send me on a snipe hunt across the Internet to pull up clues and hints you've seeded in a bunch of obviously faked (because they've bloody well got "disney" and "abc" in the URLs) websites, and for god's sake do NOT put in random clues that I have to upgrade to entirely new technology just to know about (certain "important hints" seeded through Lost's second (third?) season were only visible to people with HDTV), just so I can figure out the basic plotline. A good story shouldn't need this kind of outside crutch.

But this argument is seeming really old and fogey and Luddite to me now, especially since I no longer watch "Lost" and am thus far less emotional about it. But... grrr. Case in point: In Cloverfield, one golden young protagonist is seen wearing a Slusho T-shirt.

This is Slusho. It has been mentioned before, although since I'm not a JJ fangirl, I don't know where.


That is a freaking complex website there. Why is this all in place? Because, industry rumor has it, someday, at some point, JJ Abrams might decide to make Slusho a plot point in one of his many projects. Which... GRRRR. He's playing a game, an impressive, far-reaching game, and it's cute and all, but he's not necessarily playing it with me, and in the meantime he is (or his minions are) not turning out excellent products.

In the meantime, there are pages of fansites dedicated to dissecting WHAT IT ALL MIGHT MEAN. Dissecting with mathematical formulas and references to philosophers and running pools on who will turn out to have the right answer -- all the worldbuilding that is the author's job being done level by level by fans. Which sounds like it should be fantastic.

But...it's bland CW level fare (EDIT: because all these hardworking fans aren't really having any input -- they're being teased to guess, but there isn't really anything to guess and they can always be proved wrong, and beyond wrong into totally time-wasting territory, when the creators go "surprise! It was all bullshit we put in to occupy you for a little while like a big damn ad!"), and he's making ME do the work for it. If I had any assurance that the later Slusho tie-in was going to rock my socks, I would feel differently, but the only faith foundation I've had to build on are a collection of numbers on an island near Australia that showed up all over the place, both on the show and on the Internet (and in -- quite obviously -- faked commercials), in every conceivable permutation, combination, and multiple, and which turned out to signify...not a damned thing. "The numbers don't mean anything!" the creators said. The longest-standing and most frequently used trope in the series...MEANINGLESS... just thrown into the soup because "It was cool!" *fanboy snort*

(My argument hasn't changed at all, has it? I guess my point is, I used to be against the game on principle, but now I think I'd deal with the rigamarole just fine if the payoff was worth it.)

It's just cutesy. It's TWEE.

It is not the kind of interactive product I'm ready for or willing to consume. The payoff does not justify the work involved and I'm not confident it will in future. Give me Lily Chou-Chou. Er, except for the whole I-don't-know-Japanese part. Leave me alone with my computer and let me make up my own damn stuff, WITHOUT paying cable prices or losing minutes of my life on pop-up ads for the privilege.

(And what did all that have to do with Cloverfield? Hell, you tell me. All this to say, you need to walk into the film understanding that you won't fully understand -- unless you're ready to come home and surf the net for hours for answers/half-substantiated rumors -- and you need to have the ability to be satisfied with that.)
This is mildly gratifying. Only very mildly.

James Watson is 16 percent African

I never did post my long rant/lament/screed on this topic, did I. Probably best for all.
So... Hmmm. Dog Chapman, then.


He's, er, not too bright with the PR, but I don't see racism there -- I see low-class language, and an acknowledgement that the low-class language could bite him in the ass. Just happened way sooner than he thought.

(I don't really care, except in passing -- edited an interview with him once and thought he was kind of amusing and fairly nice. And my mom likes the show. ^___^ So I'm sad to have my vague, "nice" thoughts poked at and curious enough to Google a bit...the Internet facilitates way too much of this behavior on my part. *curbs curiosity*)

In further news... 200 words! 200 words!!

*changes career plans*
*takes up math*

Edited to fix crap HTML! LOL
"America is only to blame ... )

I think I could get used to being a tyrannical overlord... er... overlordess? overlady? If I could just get the instruction manual... I've already got the Satanic laugh...



December 2013

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