Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Viacom Showing How Power + Prejudice = Racism

Viacom has sent Zazzle a cease and desist and it has pulled the Racebending.Com merchandise from its offerings.

More information and image files of the correspondence here @glockgal on livejournal. But apparently it's a violation of copyright to use even the word Aang.

Below is the c/p of my letter sent to Viacom via this form. Because who knows what way they'll find of ignoring/returning/disappearing this mail. Actually I can't find any mechanism to find send. Let's hope this is some odd cluenessness and momentary techno-ignorance on my part. I will update if I get it sent. UPDATE: It appears to have been my browser being resoundingly weird.


Dear Viacom,

"Aang Can Save The World And Still Be Asian"

So is this attempt to stop that message plain bullying, or a need for more bad press?

If you didn't want fans protesting, then perhaps you and your subsidiary and employees shouldn't have been so blatantly racist in your casting and appropriating of an Majority Asian/Minority World:

Inuit, Chinese, Tibetan, South Asian/East Indian, Korean, Mayan and more.

Are you going to send cease and desist letters to fans holding up plaque cards and banners because they use the name Aang?

You can close down the Zazzle shop, but you can't shut us up. You've messed up. Big time. And you just keep showing how power + prejudice contributes to institutional racism.

Willow / Organizer
People of Color in Science Fiction & Fantasy Blog Carnival


Hi, my name is Willow. I'm an African Caribbean 30mumble woman, who loves Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko's Avatar: The Last Aribender, an Asian Hero Fantasy Story.


It is my fault that I haven't kept up on things. A couple of days ago I got a letter from one of those involved in Racebending.com, about a response letter than MANAA (Media Action Network for Asian Americans) had sent to Paramount Pictures. It is a reply to Paramount Pictures' excused. I got this email 10 days ago. Now parts of the protest are being attacked.

If anyone wants to say that Viacom and thus Paramount Pictures have every right to protect their copyright of images. I want to stress again that the design they object to are the words "Aang Is ASIAN". Maybe their many lawyers were on cold medicine and that's why certain items have been pulled and others have not. Maybe it's Zazzle. Or maybe those other items seem positive promotion.

MANAA's Main Points:

· The outdated and discriminatory practice of casting white actors to depict Asian characters.

· Casting calls indicating a preference for white actors for leads; people of color for extras.

· Culturally ignorant language used by members of the production (e.g. DeeDee Rickets: “If you’re a Korean, wear a kimono” to the casting call).

· The implications of featuring a villainous nation with dark-skinned, partly South Asian actors and a heroic nation led by white heroes who liberate the “Asian and African” nation.

· Cultural appropriation of Pacific Rim cultures and the franchise's core Asian concepts, despite a glass ceiling blocking off Asian American actors from playing lead protagonists.

Listing the ethnic composition of five cast members does not directly address these outstanding issues and only serves to obscure the fact that you are making rationalizations to white-wash this project hoping to bring in more viewers. The conventional wisdom in Hollywood is that in order for fantasy/science fiction/superhero movies to become successful, they must first pass muster with fans of the original source material. You are clearly not passing that bar."

Note: If Ms. Starling would like me to take down the quote, I will.

Go here for the complete timeline of Viacom/Paramount Pictures Racist Fail.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Kinky Thoughts

It's near a reasonable hour of the morning and I haven't slept. I'm too old for this. Really. I'm not sucking down caffeine. I wasn't even watching a movie. I've just felt out of sorts. Actually I've felt tired.

Everytime I think of posting to Seeking Avalon, I've felt all sorts of exhausted, pained, weak even. My brain does not want to deal with jackasses. Or even the reminders of jackasses. I've used up all my extraneous race spoons for 2009 already. And by extraneous I mean the spoons I don't need for my day to day, face to face life.

I've not followed up or pushed for a new PoC in SF Carnival. There are things happening, good things. Things I should link. Things I will link when the thought of it doesn't make my chest seize up in wonder of what jackass fools will follow and try to show up all goatse over there.

For now, however, I want to talk about my bulletproof kink. And no, it does not involve asses. Well, not directly. I've never quite gotten the fascination with Green Lantern Butts.

Willow's Bulletproof Kink - Ensembles.

For years in fandom I've been hearing about people's BulletProof Kinks and how it led them to read terrible stories online and in terrible books by terrible authors [ insert your own hated author here ]. And I kind of didn't get it. I knew I sort of got it. But I wasn't sure why I wasn't getting it completely. I just knew nothing clicked. And it's not as if I couldn't understand the concept. I do have other kinks.

I have Comfort Kinks and Relationship Kinks etc... Maybe I"ll write about those one day.

But I've finally realized that my hands down, absolute, total BulletProof Kink, is Ensembles.

I read Annihilation Conquest for the Ensemble, even though I knew absolutely none of the characters involved.

Green Lantern Corps - Rainbow Wars, keeps catching my eye like a girl in a short flouncy skirt, despite the fact that the rest of DC gives me stomach burn. I mean, I'v been avoiding hearing about Batman that's how bad the stomach burn has been.

But GLC has - Ensembles. I don't give much of a frigging crap about most of those guys individually. I'm sorry folks (Fickle, Kalinara [also I think]) but I don't drool over Kyle. I also kind of want to - ok, not shove a stick up Hal's ass. But I would not at all be opposed to watching a very sadistic woman tie Hal up and do unspeakable things to him. I'd bring sparkling apple cider and possibly a change of underwear. (Sorry, Daddy. Avert your eyes. Or uhm, have some mental bleach).

But I like seeing Hal and Kyle as part of the Earthmen Green Lanterns (also - at some point in the future someone has to just frigging go for 7 and make a girl who isn't Jade and is thus stable and formidable etc).

I like seeing whole swathes of Lanterns I've never seen before if the plot has to do with something that must be faced by the Corps as a team; Something that affects the ensemble that makes a whole.

I've realized that I enjoyed Buffy The Vampire Slayer, for the ensemble. Angel: The Series - again, I loved the ensemble and my favourite configuration will always be: Angel, Cordelia, Doyle. It holds a special place in my heart.

The LOTR movie trilogy? Yeah, I like it more than the book (though expect me to be a stickler annoying fan when it comes to the Hobbit. Oh boy.) I like the emphasis on ensemble there as well one group, split and then split again and coming together and gathering others and just....

Hmmm Willow is happy in her happy place.

Some people might point out I've professed to being bored with the Fantastic 4. And it's true. But they're a family, not an ensemble, at least to me. An ensemble can be created family, but it's an ensemble first. It's about remarkably different people coming together for a cause, having it bind them to each other and create shared experiences no one else might understand.

I've a friend who calls her BulletProof Kink - "The Arranged Marriage". She likes when two people are bound like that, growing in ways outsiders can't understand and supporting each other for reasons other people won't comprehend.

I used to think my BulletProof Kink was "The Unexpected Soulmate", wherein two people discover that the someone who is extremely different from them, with different life experiences and attitudes, beneath the surface has the same needs and desires, hurts and sore places. Soulmate makes it seem solely romantic. But Kindred Spirit always strikes me as just a touch too Anne of Green Gables.

"The Unexpected Soulmate" might still be my BPK for relationship stories. But for stories in general? What will get me to pick something up and keep reading it is the Ensemble.

And as I began to think about it, I realized that even with characters I heart extremely, my favourite stories about them happen to be Ensemble stories. It's just that when the main focus is on one character, the ensemble gets called "Supporting Cast".

Wonder Woman: Down To Earth. (by Greg Ruka) Love it. Love it. Love it. But not just for how WW is represented, but because of the Ensemble around her.

Batman? I love him best interacting with others, whether his Ensemble is the Nolanesque Fox, Pennyworth & Gordon. Or the Batclan.

And I think it's easier for me to find stories like that for Batman than for Superman. Since stories about him, are usually stories about him and to get what I want the story would have to include Lois Lane and Perry and have Jimmy not be annoying. Lois & Clark the tv series gave good Ensemble. Especially the tag team Martha and Johnathan Kent each on one end of the house landline on Clark's calls home.

Starship Troopers: Roughneck Chronicles.... That happy space is PURE Ensemble.

Of course while it's great to realize this about myself and why I'll be attracted to certain books (Harry Dresden - again, seriously good Ensemble) it'll be better to figure out how this factors into my own writing. It's bound to change my perspective on things. Or I hope it will.

So besides telling me I have to get my hands on Rainbow Wars (y'all know if I can't have digital access I'll wait for Trades and borrow them from the library - yeah, DC has seriously hurt and burnt me. Marvel too). What else is out there that you think has good Ensemble work?

And what are your BulletProof Kinks (reading wise, folks, reading wise)?

How far have you gone, what horrible things have you read because your kink was going strong and good?

Who do you consider part of the Ensemble around your favourite characters? Gotham counts for me, when it comes to Batman and the Batclan. And often if Gotham isn't living and breathing, then I can't enjoy the story.

What supporting cast characters have you loved and missed who have since gone the way of limbo's foyer/waiting room - you hope and not the way of the dodo?

What addition to an Ensemble made you turn away? I know I couldn't read X-men with Emma Frost in it, way before I gave up on Marvel.

Wow...I'm actually soliciting discussion and conversation here. I must be tired.

*goes to sleep*

Sunday, April 12, 2009

My Money's Too Lavender

Heather Has Too Mommies is Too Gay for Amazon.com.

The children's book is among many books that include GLBT individuals, which have now been deemed 'too adult for the general public search' on the website.


* Amazon Thinks You Should Be Protected From Gay Books

* Amazon Follies

* List Of Books Affected

* Meta Link List / More Blogging


In consideration of our entire customer base, we exclude "adult" material from appearing in some searches and best seller lists. Since these lists are generated using sales ranks, adult materials must also be excluded from that feature.

Hence, if you have further questions, kindly write back to us.

Best regards,

Ashlyn D
Member Services
Amazon.com Advantage


I have emailed via their customer service device when logged in. I am also collecting alternate places to buy MP3's from and will no longer buy things via Amazon for my older relatives when they need an online purchase.

New tag: bigotry like a fungus

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Asian Woman Carnival #1

The Asian Woman Carnival is live @Yennenga (a community on livejournal).

Despite the mental break I've been taking from things like this - I'm devouring it. I've only gone through maybe a quarter of it so far, but there's powerful stuff there - things to make you think about yourself, about life, about other people, about invisibility. Good stuff. A really good Carnival. An amazing first Carnival issue.

Go read.

[And if you're someone thinking bs about how 'omg it's livejournal' - stop reading my blog. Livejournal is a tool to be used and we're all damn lucky it's been around to give voice to so many who might otherwise be invisible. This anti-livejournal shit is becoming a neon tag for the small minded. Small minds can't handle Anti-racism graduate level, not even to audit.]