Friday, November 12, 2010

Think For Yourselves - As Long As You Agree With Us

K-Box: The purpose of releasing advance promotion for a product is to get people to prejudge it.

Admittedly, it's to get people to prejudge it POSITIVELY, but if they see the advance promotion and prejudge the product NEGATIVELY, then you really can't complain about the fact that they're PREJUDGING it, because that was the entire PURPOSE of your advance promotion, was to get them to do EXACTLY THAT.

Rather, you're just upset that they're not prejudging it the way that you WANTED them to, which is an entirely different complaint, and moreover, is not the AUDIENCE'S fault, because if your advance promotion fails to inspire the specific TYPE of prejudging that you were aiming for, then it's YOUR fault for releasing that advance promotion in the first place, and NOT the audience's.

Producers of media are not ENTITLED to our support. Saying that we OWE it to them to give them a chance is MORALLY wrong. They are an entirely DISCRETIONARY expense, and they should NEVER see themselves as anything more than that.


This quote is in relation to superhero comics (particularly Spiderman comess and wtf). But it pinged really hard to me. It reminded me of my altercation with Johanna of ComicsWorthReading (re: racism), and various interactions in the past between people listed on 'When Fangirls Attack' going 'OMG another misogynistic piece of tripe' and others going 'But you haven't bought it, it's just a cover, you don't know, etc...'

The entitlement reminds me of more than comics, however. It reminds me of how all media is promoted.

* Promotion is for pre-judging

* If you prejudge negatively, then you don't have the skills to prejudge at all

* Therefore you can't really judge it, unless you buy it, read it, read the whole series, have in depth discussion with the artist...

Somehow, free-will, individuality, depth of self and experience, personal likes and dislikes, (disgust of cultural appropriation, racism and misogyny) somehow do not come into play. Free Market, Scree Farket and the Circular Logic Brigade.

It feels like at some point, someone decided 'You can't judge a book by it's cover' should be extrapolated to books with description art dust jackets, comic books, movie trailers and other material meant to hook interest.

Somehow the fact it doesn't hook interest or in fact turns off, becomes not a problem created by the original producers, or the marketers, but a flaw in the person of the consumer themselves.How dare they not just open up and swollow...

Y'all all know how I feel about non-con privilege fellatio.

The illusion that those 'in charge' want the rest of the world to think for themselves... How deep does it go? How much bigger is it becoming? I mean, past the 'If it's pink girls and women must buy it, because we made it pink!' and 'Real men should find our commercials funny, if you don't, then you're not a real man, so you better buy our product quick before someone finds out!?

Is it any wonder there's a serious problem with bullying? It's effing everywhere! It's how they sell things to us, from themselves (politicians) to toilet paper.

It's 'Bomb you back to the stone-age'.

It's 'You're protesting a two year sentence on the murderer of an unarmed black man? We're gonna rough and lock y'all ALL up.'

Think for yourselves, as long as you think what we want you to.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Everywhere I Go - People Gotta Show

Their big, bald asses, nasty nasty asses....

I was really enjoying Benders & Brawlers. Someone doing a DM of the Rings / Darth & Droids style webcomic using Avatar: The Last Airbender?

So cool!

And then:

The decision to give Iroh a bad accent was last minute, but it makes sense; if the GM is trying to maintain an Asian-inspired atmosphere, bad accents are going to be par for the course.

-Posted on Apr 15, 2009


Text in comic:

"I berieve, honoled nephew, eet has somefink to do wif da Avatal. Pelhaps you shood ledilect da ship towalds da right."

Me to the webcomic creators:

Slit Your Throat, You Asswipes. Slit It Good.
Cause you are dead to me.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Yet Another Piecemeal Heroine

"Y'know what sucks?" I started saying to a friend on chat. "Reading a book about a heroine, who knows bad guys are hunting a creature, who gets there first, and instead of taking the creature somewhere safe - not even to her home, just somewhere -safe-, she wastes time interrogating it, in public, with the bad guys hunting, and then gets upset they find her and kill the creature."

There, I have just spoiled the 00 issue of Lady Mechanika by Joe Benitez. I don't feel tis anything worth crying over either.

Sometimes, I feel like the world wants me to think I'm asking for the DAMN MOON, for wanting a protagonist female who THINKS THINGS THROUGH.

My friend's response? "So, she's holding the idiot ball?"

Which lead to me discovering the term and it's TV Tropes Definition. I hadn't heard the term before.

But let us continue with the ignorance rampage through these 13 pages (just when I decided I couldn't read anymore, turns out it was done.)

LM is hunting a creature that's said to be terrorizing the town. She's intrigued because it's possibly part mechanical, like herself. She's aware that there are men, hired by a particular company, also hunting, because they too are intrigued by the mechanical. On top of that there are DIFFERENT MEN, hunting it to kill it.

She darts the creature and then starts talking to it, right where they are. No picking it up to take it somewhere safe; not even a rooftop, not even a sewer, not even a shadowy corner.

It would be one thing if things went to crap while she was trying to convince the creature to trust her, but instead she's overwhelmed by an urgent need for information NOW NOW NOW.

She's even TOLD the beast that it's being hunted by others. And it's said it expects to be killed. It can't help not thinking straight, it's been tranqed. But what the hell is her excuse?

I understand setup, I really do. But why not have her take the creature someplace, have the bad guys track it, and have the creature freak out thinking it's a trap and distrusting her or something and thus trying to run away, end up running right into trouble; that is, if the writer really needed her angry and without information.

Instead BAM! Dead sapient creature. No information. And then, she stalks towards the shooter, all pissed off and punches him upside the face. Only to listen to his religious fervor about 'purity and abominations' etc...

So while I'm rolling my eyes at yet another persecuted minority without anyone having to deal with race(eta: sexuality or gender), I'm also rolling my eyes at a heroine being pissy. Not bad ass. PISSY.

And then it gets worse.

No, I'm not kidding.

Having strolled into the midst of the hunters. She reveals herself as being part mechanical. Thus, she's in the middle of hired mercenaries when their employer offers them triple their fee to bring her in.

And then, the cues of the story try to tell me I should think it bad ass that she wounds, grievously wounds, perhaps even kills these men. These men who were only doing their jobs. These men who wouldn't have had to try and attack her, if she hadn't presented the opportunity by striding in there, holding the ignorant ball.

AND THEN.

And then? Their employer, the man calling the shots, commands his attendant to shoot her. She responds and wounds this employer. She begins to stroll majestically out of scene, after kicking his face in or something close, judging by the blood spatter in the comic (did I mention this blood spatter comes on the end of heels? Yes, hunting in heels. Let us all laugh together).

So, this man, who's proven he wants to capture beings like her, ALIVE, who is in the midst of his big villain speech about vivisection and future technology, she wounds him, and LEAVES HIM ALIVE.

And I'm supposed to think she's bad ass? I'm supposed to think she's a character I could identify with?

I don't care that she's an anti-hero, who holds life like hers higher than other life. What I care about is her plot/writer induced ignorance. A powerful man, in charge of a powerful company, who can afford to hire mercenaries to hunt down what he wants and offer them triple their fee on the spot, who can KILL without fear of reprisal, who is INTERESTED in this woman, and who has already shown a disregard for regular human life.

AND SHE LEAVES HIM ALIVE???

Has he no heirs? No VP's, no wife, (or lover), or family to want revenge against her to keep the plot going? Would it not produce plot to have her wanted for murder? Is she not smart enough to permanently mangle his jaw and break his hands and knees and legs to at least slow him down while avoiding the label of murderer?

NOPE.

She leaves him alive.

Now let's move on to the art. There was apparently a need to show middirff, to have hip hugging low riding pants, to have peekahole breast window in a mechapunk scenario. There was apparently a need to show the female protagonist in poses of impossible body structure, impossible balance and impractical martial arts poses.

Because the heroine can't be smart and strong and ruthless, and possibly modest or modestly matching the times. She must be sexy. Oh yes.

And again, if her revealing clothing was meant to make people uncomfortable by showing her inhuman, inorganic parts - that would be one thing. That would be psy-ops in action. This is just a high heels wearing woman, who talks a good game, but doesn't actually do anything worthwhile; who is presented as an overly emotional (not overwhelmed by emotions related to particular issues, mind), sexy, steampunk sexamatrix (in the sense of male gaze fantasies about overpowering women).

And here I was hoping for something perhaps dealing with disability, assistive devices, mechapunk backgrounds & culture, and you know, an actual self-empowered, brightly thinking female protagonist.

Yup, this ticked me off so much, despite a current painscale at about 7.5 (specifically in my fingers), I typed this all up anyway.

Friday, November 5, 2010

What Is Humanity

Updating On the Deviant Art issue:

Statement by DevArt Senior Member* Moderator:

`nokari:

"If not having a 3rd gender option, or complete lack there of, on a website makes you feel offended, then you have bigger problems.

Look down between your legs. If you see a penis, choose Male. If you see a vagina, choose Female. If you see a penis but don't feel male, than pick Female. If you see a vagina but don't feel like a female, then pick Male. If some days you feel one way and other days you feel the other, then switch it as you see fit. And if you don't like either, go eenie meenie minie moe to make your choice and select to not show anything. You can write "Unspecified" or whatever the hell else you want anywhere on your profile with the exact same effect. No one but yourself cares whether it says "his" or "her" on your profile. People can't go around calling you "it" all the time anyways.

Your 3rd option is to pick to not show your gender choice and just tell people what you prefer."



Along with the wtf of such a statement - it's been noted that the option to not show a gender choice to the site doesn't work properly.

I realize that many people are not going to have a clue what's so offensive about the above statmene. I realize that some people are gong to think the wrong is that it was said aloud/in public. I realize that there are people who think 'this is a trans thing, not a real social justice thing, doesn't affect me'.

I quietly point out that dehumanizing an individual, is and should be, everyone's problem. And in fact the reason so many don't understand this, is because cultures (old and new) that stress or emphasize empathy and cooperation tend to be overrun, mocked and degraded through strength in the power of greed and ego.

Conquer philosophy; a reality of domination and submission, might and subserviences is NOT all there is to the world and never has been. All the world's a nail and all power is the fist is LEARNED.

Remember that when you see all the tone arguments being bandied about, when you see people deciding they are Masters and others need to beg for basic humanity.


An alternative to DeviantArt that has come up, is Paper Demon which so far does not require any gender information. For more from Transdefinite, please go here.

--- * ---

Note: *Dev Art Senior Member = Approval by dA staff according to their FAQ as pointed out during the conversation.
 

Thursday, November 4, 2010

What Fresh BullCrap Is This?

I am currently unwell. But apparently I can still at least link.

#1. Editor of published magazine allows a copy a blog entry (on medieval cooking I might add) to be published in her magazine. Then, along with the stealing, claims tha the author should pay her for 'editing' - the internet is apparently ALL public domain. (And this editor didn't even pay attention to what she saw to notice things were in medieval spelling).

No seriously, this is a professional in the publishing industry (or at least claiming to be while receiving money) claiming that - THE INTERNET IS ALL PUBLIC DOMAIN. Read about it from the copyright infringed author here, and more commentary here

#2. DC (detective comics) has allowed an artist, an inkist, a colorist and an editior to WHITE WASH AMANDA 'The Wall' WALLER.

AMANDA WALLER - Vixenized!

Someone felt that AMANDA WALLER, would grow out her hair, put relaxer in it, put bleaching cream on her whole body. She's also now a 'Red Head' so by the standards of those privileged fans who 'didn't get it' in Dr. Who fandom - she's still a 'minority' now.

AMANDA WALLER. They've whitewashed Amanda Waller.

Could DC just be honest about it and come out and say "We don't like/want black people in our universe".

Or is it? DC doesn't like strong, meaningful black women in their universe?

ETA: If this shit has anything to do with DC movies and whitewashed casting? The fail is even deeper and more disgusting.

#3. ... DeviantArt, having removed the option for gender unspecified, has customer service representatives using the word 'hermaphrodite' without comment, and declaring that people who aren't male or female don't exist. Perhaps this explains why they also feel images representing "white power" do not violate their TOS regarding hate speech.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Cause It's Not Worth Signing Up To Deal With Idiots

Today's example of "The Micro-Aggressions Of Life" - The Escapist's Extra Credits. Episode: Symbolism.

Despite their recent Diversity Episode, I'm more than a little turned off Extra Credits right now. They've just done their Halloween episode, and given how near the diversity episode just was, I find this shit fucked up and annoyingly predictable.

Yeah yeah yeah, you can only say so much in 6 to 7 minutes. But they CHOOSE the topic AND what they're going to say. And what they said this week was telling.

This week in choosing symbolism, they talk about horror symbolism and 'The Self', 'The Uncanny' and 'The Other' and apparently no one involved thought about the symbolism and unconscious message in the episode's art.

They made/make the choice to be educators, instructors, conversation and discussion starters, to put forward a voice and make an impression. They made the choice to bring up they'll be pointing out issues of diversity and it's complexities in the future. And then what do they do?

"The basic idea is that there are certain fundamental symbols that are deeply ingrained in us at subconscious level."


Really? Ya think?!

My first moment of huh/grr was in their choice of red= fire & blood. That's their idea of a 'universal' symbol. And I felt smacked in the face with the hubris. They didn't say red = life. Oh no. Fire & Blood. It's universal! So I guess me thinking red = life, and red = bridal colour, red = wealth, is just me being.... non universal? Exotic maybe.

But I brushed that aside and kept watching with only mild tension. Because they do say almost every culture uses it as a warning or cautionary colour. So there's wiggle room. Even though I was now dealing with the mental association 'caution - BRIDE AHEAD' and thinking it was kind of EuroColonial.

"But oddly enough we tend to be just as frightened or at least unsettled by things which are similar to us but not completely."


There's no little stick people of colour in this episode, not even when they bring up the concept of 'bigotry'. So when they're talking about 'expectations of the self' and 'things that are just a little bit off', there's no darker than pale-beige image associated with what's right and normal. And then comes the gibbering transient - with a picture of a dark skinned african descended man with locks.

- * -

Aside: Note the phrase voiced with that picture? "Have you ever felt unsettled with a gibbering transient or an amputee?" So at this point I'd also like to point out my wtf at the 'celebrating bigotry in horror' with the image of an amputee and the '...that feeling, is the uncanny'. Dark skinned people and disabled individuals = THE FREAKING UNCANNY.

The 'gibbering transient' image, is the only dark faced image in the piece. This is yet another overwhelming penny on the side of whiteness (and being able bodied) as default for all that is good, pure, normal and true.

Hellooooo Halloween/ Horror Isming! :End Aside
- * -


"...It happens most often with human beings, because we're all hardwired to have a very specific, well established expectation for how a human being is supposed to look and act."


And then there's the comments about the Japanese and Japanese games under the sub-heading THE OTHER. "They are utterly foreign to us as a Western audience".

They do mention a lack of cultural comprehension, touchstones and markers as to why things seem so different. But this is a segment named 'The Other' and it's pretty fucking light on even a passing mention of xenophobia, privilege and willful ignorance as to why the other is other and unusual, foreign and unknown.

In fact, they SAY: "An element of otherness that is in and of itself - unsettling." WITH A PICTURE OF AN ALIEN. Japanese culture is so OTHER as to be associated with NON HUMANS.

And what the fuck was that crack about Japan: - "With enough thought and diligence, Western developers can capture that same unsettling otherness in their own games. Japan just has it a little easier. They don't have to make up anything new to get that affect."

Not having to make it all up new? That little 'other people have culture and history and white people don't' mixed with 'they have this primitive, atavist, lizard brain activating past'.

I realize that Extra Credits and it's creators have nothing to do with activism. But again, they want to start dialogue. And the people who're generally listening, already think things like this:

I do have to analyze the idea of alienation occurring from racial incongruity between the player and protagonist: "What does that say to the Hispanic boy, the Arab teen, the Indian woman, who wants to try just such a game? Will they feel alienated? Disconnected from the experience?"

This idea reinforces the idea that there are inherent differences between races, that the small difference of appearance creates more differences in a chain reaction. This concept is just not true.


The small difference of appearance; as if ethnicity and gender wrapped in social conditioning, white supremacy politics, misogyny, conquest mindset (aka imperialism, colonialism & justification for dehumanizing) - the whole freaking Kyriarchy - along with so much more, is really just the difference on 'white shirt' / 'brown shirt' skin.

Privilege is the ability not to consider just how much you're reinforcing the status quo - which already puts you on top - with 6 minutes of words and images; It's the ability to make 'diversity' a special interest topic. Privilege is the ability to exclude and hurt a large swathe of humanity that is not just like you, while patting yourself on the back about your open mindedness.

ETA: Pics, 1, 2, 3 or it didn't happen. Also my mistake, there is an apparent non-white stick person. A possibly japanese game maker who 'doesn't have to make up anything new'.

ETA: Oct 30. Link fixed. Also typos.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

This just in!

White people are being wrong, ismist and privileged on the internet!

In other news: WATER IS STILL WET! White/Privileged Guilt Is Still Strong.

Clarification: About Wiscon /Sf3 rescinding (far too late, after stirring much bad blood and giving absolutely no details as to why) E.Moon's invitation to be honored at their feminist convention.

Further Clarification: Because now there won't be an opportunity for them (E.Moon's stated Caucasian Good Citizens) to be educated by those who've been insulted and dehumanized.

Seriously Wiscon Coordinators? "We have decided that this can be a learning experience for those of us in the majority, no matter and irregardless of the cost to others."

How many times in life and face to face interpersonal dialogue, does someone punch you in the face or stomach, the crowd around you gasps, and the hosts of the next party who invited the puncher decide that you can come too - and talk in detail about how it felt to get punched in public.


And I add now; And all the other guests then get upset, when the host is badgered and shamed into catching a clue, and tells the attacker they can't attend the party anymore. Because there but for the grace of fate, go they (the other guests) - and if someone isn't making excuses for the puncher, no one might make excuses for them and they might actually face consequences for dehumanizing other individuals.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Three Things Make A Post

1.   Wiscon. Three posts, 'Wiscon I'm Done' and 'On WisCon' and this amazing and to the point Play In 4 Acts by Vito-excalibur (DW).

WisCon was never going to be my thing. And that was further cemented (marble slab) by their original statement, for which I showed scorn here.

But there were people who believed in this convention, who believed it was and could grow and their hurt and disappointment, even though it looks to me like a small child being surprised fire burns, is discomforting to watch.


2.   I came across this blog post discussing 'The BlackBig Box of Lazy Writing' as pertains to the magical something that enables a female protaganist to catch the eye of an appropriate high status male as mate and how that pertains to Sookie of True Love/Southern Vampire Mysteries and doesn't pertain to Buffy The Vampire Slayer (who stands outside the pattern). It's an interesting read and made me think about my own Princess In The City thoughts.
* Yes, I changed Black to Big.
* Also I have no idea what the OP of the linked essay thinks in terms of intersectionality, race, ablism etc. The individual's blogoll seems very feminist. Take that as you will.

3.   I am still mourning my friend. Wishing I could talk to her about all these things. I think that will affect me a while.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Skywardprodigal

I lost a member of my Caribbean Diaspora family today. I lost a friend, a fellow daily-life activist, someone who enriched and informed my life, someone who said I helped enrich and inform theirs. It's been about 12 hours or so since I heard the news. It took a couple hours for me to believe the news was real, and for it all to sink in. And now every time I see another post mourning her passing it hurts all over again and then I feel guilty about not making some official statement, something eloquent or at least coherent - but I'm not sure what to say.

I am glad, however, that since it was her birthday last week, I got the chance to tell her how glad I was she was born, and how much it meant to have her in my life. Too often we don't get the chance to remind people of how much they mean to us, how their presence makes breathing easier, stupidity less stinging and hatred and oppression to feel less overwhelming.

I will miss her jokes, her wisdom, her epic sarcasm. I will miss sharing pictures of the Caribbean and discussions of the representations of our people in 'global/us centric' media. I will miss her art spams - showing me PoC in wonderous fantasy environments as well as simply real life beautiful individuals.

I will miss her.

~*~



Anyone interested in memorial donations, please consider the list of charities she wrote up in January for Haiti.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Wiscon + Moon + Things Certain People Do

First, some exerpts (Wiscon On E.Moon):



As many in our community are aware, Elizabeth Moon, one of WisCon 35's Guests of Honor, recently made a highly controversial public post about the planned Islamic community center for lower Manhattan, about Islamic Americans, and about immigrants, assimilation, and citizenship.

It should go without saying that Ms. Moon's personal sentiments are her own, and do not necessarily represent the WisCon community, but in this case the co-chairs of WisCon's planning committee would like to take the additional step of making it clear that we were each to varying degrees dismayed, angered and offended by some portions of her comments, which seemed antithetical to the philosophies and ideals held dear by the WisCon community.

Even though we strongly disavow these elements of Ms. Moon's post, we have not rescinded her invitation to be a Guest of Honor, nor do we plan to do so. The WisCon planning committee selected Ms. Moon earlier this year based on her past work and our feeling that she would make a positive contribution to WisCon. After extensive conversation in recent days, and having spoken directly with Ms. Moon on the subject, we continue to believe that her presence will contribute to the Con.

We know that opinions are not changed by running away from them, but instead by engaging with them, challenging their assumptions, sharing knowledge, seeking understanding, and by lively and candid discourse. And we think that provides a pretty good short description of a typical WisCon.

One might say that WisCon excels at the difficult conversation -- and sometimes the hardest conversation is with an idol who turns out to be human. We have begun addressing our difference of views with Ms. Moon directly, and will continue to do so over the coming months and at the con itself. We hope you will join us in this difficult conversation.

...

We are currently working on ways to productively engage with this issue at the convention itself. The WisCon programming committee is already accepting panel ideas dealing with Islam and Islamophobia, and we hope to take further steps to welcome new voices from the Muslim world, immigrant communities, and others who might feel threatened by nativist swings of the political pendulum.





I was never going to attend Wiscon - Racefail 09 pretty much cemented that for me. But this puts a nice marble topper on the grave.

One might say that WisCon excels at the difficult conversation

My laughter is currently being appreciated by hyenas on the Serengeti Plains.

Seriously Wiscon Coordinators? "We have decided that this can be a learning experience for those of us in the majority, no matter and irregardless of the cost to others."

How many times in life and face to face interpersonal dialogue, does someone punch you in the face or stomach, the crowd around you gasps, and the hosts of the next party who invited the puncher decide that you can come too - and talk in detail about how it felt to get punched in public.

"I'm sorry our guest of honor assaulted you in public and treated you as less than human. But you can/should TOTALLY come to our party and talk about what happened to spice things up!"

Friday, September 10, 2010

Open Letter To Tim Wise

Tim Wise,

When PoC individuals point out that you've thrust yourself (intentionally conscious or not) to the forefront of the anti-racist movement and any direction shift you give to the work laid down for centuries by the forefathers and foremothers of antiracism by POC, what they're essentially saying is this;

White people are calling you Mr.Wise while you let them call those PoC activists by their first names.

And if you can't understand what's implicit in that, then you've come a long ass way (in the wrong direction) from when you wrote 'White Like Me' and all the comprehension you claimed therein on what it meant to be doing what you were doing.

Stop being your grandfather running a liquor shop in a black community and expecting to be loved for it.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Why Do I Even Try?

Johanna of Comics Worth Reading:

I sympathize with your concerns, but your attitude and attack methods aren't appropriate for my blog. This debate won't continue here.


My concerns? My attitude? Well I don't find a need to give the instant benefit of the doubt to a white American male who decides the Jungle Girl tropes need not to be lost for posterity. Revives it. And in doing so slides head first into a pile of aversive racism and spikey, painful, disgusting stereotypes. The link to the conversation is here.

Well, conversation is me terming things politely with a shiny sugar layer. I pointed out the very idea of a Jungle Girl running around in leopard print, far less two, far less two where the blonde is the savior and the black woman is the avenger, is just FILLED with fail in and of itself. And Johanna felt the creators should automatically be given the benefit of the doubt. That I should see what they had to say and how they presented the comic - even though everything they've said so far about the comic, and the images presented and their own comments all influenced my attitude towards them.

Even after I linked her; How To Write About Africa, if she even read it, didn't clue her in that everything the creators had been saying about 'raising awareness' and 'doing a good turn' and 'getting the word out' and 'bringing in the REAL WORLD' and 'all those good charities', alongside images of half naked, painted, black faces in a jungle on the covers - all of that didn't give her a clue.

It's much easier, after all, for her to reach for the tone argument because I won't pull my punches.

Heaven forbid someone white, far less white and female, have a conversation about topics where they feel un-knowledgeable and/or uncomfortable. Also of note? Anger is always an attack - except when it's white women being angry about misogyny, then it's just righteous indignation.

For posterity:
I was hoping to have a discussion about the problems you perceive, but it seems that anyone who doesn't instantly share your anger and agree with your preconceptions is assumed to be the enemy. You should give them the benefit of the doubt because fighting bigotry with more bigotry is no solution.

I sympathize with your concerns, but your attitude and attack methods aren't appropriate for my blog. This debate won't continue here.



My interpretation:
See, now I totally have an excuse not to engage with you, because you're not appealing to my and likely the male creator's needs for white privilege fellatio. You're not spoonfeeding. You're not smiling, shucking and jiving. Clearly I have NO preconceptions about Africa, white men, who can write what stories, or what is really a harmful stereotype, but YOU clearly DO, judging by your ANGER and it's such a shame, because if only you'd swallowed that, I'd have pretended to listen to you and acted as if I would actually do a privilege check and realize how the world could be seen via a different perspective by someone not in my position.

Clearly your taking the time to even respond to me was NOT a signal of your willingness to have discussion no matter your anger and was just yet another opportunity for someone angry and black to ATTACK. Which of course means you're bigoted against white people, because you keep demanding concession of our history of inhumanity.

I am so sympathetic to whatever made you such an angry, horde swirling black person, but I refuse to have you continue to point out how I'm trying to hide behind self maintained ignorance. My discussion space is not for conversations that make me think about my own privilege. Good day.


I think I'm just going to delete the feeds of everyone white and female who is NOT Karen Healey right now. I'll need to double check who I have that might actually be white and male. But seriously, why the hell hold out hope? They're only going to think my refusal to give them a pass means I'm bigoted against white people; REVERSE DISCRIMINATION OMG!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Things White Authors Like To Do: Call For Comfort

Sandra Modell,

The word you are avoiding mentioning in your journal (including keeping out of comments), the word that upset a fellow Clarion West workshop attendee, the word you are claiming you had no idea could trigger such upset - is NIGGER TOES.

And you're claiming White Woman Tears for that??!

Talking about how: "A confused reader is an antagonistic reader." Call it a hunch, but I'm fairly certain Ursula Le Guin would be just a little bit appalled to see a quote of hers used to distract away from a critical point of media representation for minorities by a writer so encased in privilege that she, (you), could claim you stand outside your own society and are not caught up in stereotypes - because somehow, you alone have the power to save the universe not pay attention to them.

"I wasn’t going to give anyone the satisfaction of driving me away." - you say in the same post in which you mention someone so upset by your written word that they were crying and stammering. But YOU are the victim. YOU are the one made to feel SMALL, because someone pointed out your words, were incredibly racist.

You also claim "I’m not ashamed of what I wrote. I can see why it upset people, but I’m not ashamed."

So apparently you're yet another recruit to keeping the SFF genre so disgusting, ismist and self satisfied no minorities will want anything to do with it. Well that's one way to keep it 'pure' I'm sure.

PS: The real victim in all this is NOT the story. The story wasn't reduced to tears and anger at yet another set of stereotypes, animalistic stereotypes, about itself and similar others. The story didn't sit in that workshop and hear itself casually slurred. The story didn't get called confused and antagonistic aka 'emotional angry black woman/person'. The story didn't have you judging it.

You admit right off you LIKE your story. You called the woman who pointed out how hurtful it was 'the one who set off the powder keg'.

Friday, July 2, 2010

The Bigger Picture

Glockgal is smart and has pointed out that with M. Night. Shyalaman fanning all the flames to himself, it protects the Studio, the Casting Company, the Producers et al from any blow-back from the problematic casting. Right now they're primarily taking heat for hiring him - but not for anything else.

I'm incredibly WTF and boggled at MNS's statements. Incredibly.

But Paramount is the one who sent back protest letters, who wouldn't meet with concerned activist groups, who lied about receiving the blessing from various activist and empowerment groups, who gave the go-ahead for the toys to reflect the white leads (and those predominately male), and for the movie based manga to be more than ambiguous on the side of whiteness (ie - Manga!Zuko looks nothing like Dev Patel so who do they think they're kidding?).

No matter MNS's contributions, he got support
from the Studio (Paramount) and the Producers
.

Let us not forget Deedee Ricketts;

"If you're Korean, wear a kimono. If you're from Belgium, wear lederhosen..."


Let us not forget Jackson Rathbone (steeped in the institutionalized racism of Hollywood);

”I think it's one of those things where I pull my hair up, shave the sides, and I definitely need a tan. It’s one of those things where, hopefully, the audience will suspend disbelief a little bit.”


Let us not forget;

“Caucasian or any other ethnicity.”



Racism Is More Than A Hat You Put On In The Morning

Thursday, July 1, 2010

And He Opened His Mouth Further. And I Saw Feces.

M. Night. Shyalaman shows the world, for sure that he knows and cares nothing for critical race theory, or institutionalized racism in Hollywood (and its products); and that he believes as a member of a minority he should be exempt from being called on his own actions within, and which uphold oppressive, excluding systems.

Shyalaman displays a distinct lack of knowledge on anime, the anime style and a little simple thing called cultural markers - ahem, except of course, perhaps, when it comes to his own culture.

And finally, he shows a strong bias against criticism; strong enough to make one wonder if lack of criticism is what has resulted in TLA Movie bombing as it has - at least (at this time) with cinema critics.

I personally think the movie (as described by critics and viewing audience) shows he also cares nothing about strong female characters (even those that attract his own daughter) or the struggle for respect and equality between the sexes.

I've said that before that I thought; "Katara will be pretty and emotionally strong but not a warrior, not describable as kick-ass, because Night's female characters are never kick-ass. They're enduring with quirk sprinkles."

But I've been shaking my head and shaking my head at previous interviews that I, generously it seems, thought misguided and perhaps a little ego inflated. But with this interview...

C/p snippet here (emphasis in quotes mine):

JC: I know you’ve gotten this question quite a bit, but I have to ask it because -- I’m sure other members of the press have told you this, too – I’ve been getting a lot of e-mails from the members of the Racebending group, especially in the days leading up to the release of this film. And again, they’re expressing their concerns about the lack of Asian or Asian-American actors cast in the film. What is your response to that at this point? Do you have anything further to say on that issue?

MNS: They’re misguided.

JC: Okay--

MNS: They’re aware I’m Asian, right?

JC: I would think so.

MNS: And that Dev [Patel]’s Asian, and Assif [Mandvi]’s Asian, and everybody’s, I mean – it’s incredible to think that there’s a correct Asian here. They don’t own this series. They don’t own all these cultures. The word Avatar is a Sanskrit word. So it’s all cultures that are put together. There’s no correct background here. They should ask: why does Noah Ringer look like a duplicate – a duplicate – of the cartoon guy? Why? He’s a dupe.

Anime is based on ambiguous facial features. It’s meant to be interpretive. It’s meant to be inclusive of all races, and you can see yourself in all these characters. My daughter saw herself as Kitara[sic] and now her friend who’s Hispanic sees herself as Kitara[sic], and that’s totally valid. This is a multicultural movie and I’m going to make it even more multicultural in my approach to its casting. There’s African-Americans in the movie … so it’s a source of pride for me. The irony that they would label this with anything but the greatest pride, that the movie poster has Noah and Dev on it and my name on it. I don’t know what else to do.


JC: Does it offend you that they’re defining Asian in what you perceive as a limited way when you consider yourself Asian?

MNS: I think it’s convenient for their argument. Their issue isn’t with me. Their issue is with the artists that invented anime. The story of "The Last Airbender" is an ambiguous story. These cultures are not defined. There is no Inuit woman who looks like Kitara[sic]. That’s not the reality of things. That’s not the way they’re drawn. Talk to the people who drew them. So you’re talking to the wrong person. I’m actually doing a very culturally diverse movie. In fact, I believe it’s the most culturally diverse tent pole movie ever made. And the series will be, if we’re lucky enough to make all three, without a peer -- without a peer -- one of the most culturally diverse movies ever made. It doesn’t have, like, a token person. The entire landscape will be ethnically diverse. That’s the entire point of the series.

I just can’t even believe that having achieved this – I’m the one that fought to get this movie made – having to do all of this and the opportunities I’m getting to do this in this way, and bring all these cultures to the table and all these ideas to a mass audience. 85 percent of the audience will have not seen the show. Right? Around the world. And I’m going to introduce them to all of this. Like the Uncle Iroh character is literally the wisest person in the movie and I believe Shaun Toub [the actor who plays him] is Persian. I forget where he’s from, but he’s clearly not white. On and on.

And Dev is what the movie’s about, his character, where he goes is what the movie’s about. Just that I have to defend this is -- it’s outrageous.


***____________***


M. Night Shyalaman, in his own words asking why folk are being ungrateful, thinking 15 seconds equals non tokenism and also a show of diversity, alongside brown folk as the villains.

Check out a rebuttal on the Racebending Comm. There's also a link from there, to the original article.

If you want to get to the article from here, however; By clicking this link, I affirm I have taken a deep breath, and time and space to calm down. If I comment on the article at this link, I will not bring cause to have 'the tone argument' brought up and thus muddy the issue. I will not mock, patronize, insult or just plain cuss out M.Night.Shyalaman.

He already thinks people pointing out his faults and faulty actions are rabble-rousing peasantry, folk; disrespectful gutterswine. And while it's true, that gutterswine can see things other people might not; for even those who are as reasonable as can be he's steadfast in this belief that only certain types of people are being critical and does not need further reason to hold up in his bubble of fantasy.

One Last Thought / Dissecting A Scene

The more I hear about the horrid and awful that is The Last AirRacebender, the more I find myself thinking about the story arc that MNS chose to tell vs the one I keep seeing in my head;

The Boy In The Iceberg, -> The Spirit World -> The Winter Solstice (Avatar Roku) -> The Water Bending Master - > The Siege of the North.

Sure it leaves many things out. But there would be time enough to expand in later movies; open up the world and include some b-plots or side-adventures. It's the movie-verse, an alternate telling of the same tale; events could be moved around the time-line, or have a few combinations here and there on littler things. But isn't that a good arc for a first movie - showing off who the characters all are, what the world is, what the stakes are?

Every character has a chance to shine in the arc in my head; Sokka as brave and loyal and a sneaky tactical thinker; Aang as cheerful and sensitive and dedicated despite feeling weighed down by heavy responsibility; Katara as nurturing but also strong willed and a leader; Zuko as emotionally bruised, but determined and a fighter. And I almost forgot the nods to Iroh's spirituality and strong sense of family and the showcasing of Zhao's ambition and competitiveness.

When I figured out for myself and was then told, that the 'camp' I kept seeing in trailers really was the Earthbender Prison, I couldn't believe it. Earthbenders imprisoned while surrounded by dirt, rock, stone, shale, and mud? What possible reason could there be for such a ridiculous set up? For the story to change that much? Why even include references to 'Imprisoned' - it was a great Katara piece, but it wasn't necessary to the full arc.

And now I see reviewers talking about Aang as a quasi-messianic figure and I know. You had to have that piece where the white boy inspires the brown people to help themselves, to realize the tools are all around them if only they were bright enough/motivated enough to see it. If you're going to make said white boy into a Quasi Messianic Figure (the tattoo makes a cross on his back); into a specific kind of Chosen One; you've got to give him someone to save - a mission for a missionary. In fact the plight of the poor brown people is what should inspire the White Chosen One, to take up his White Man's Burden to lead.

....

I'm just going to let that sit there - crappy adaptation with an unnecessary section, made further defunct by set piece and MNS's intervention to make the Fire Nation need sources of fire which results in the oppressed looking pathetic and unthinking and by cutting out Suki and The Kyoshi Warriors, MNS's interpretation of them as freedom fighters means that the Earth Benders & Earth Kingdom isn't shown fighting back at all without the Avatar there to inspire them.

And of course cutting out Suki and The Kyoshi Warriors is a double blow. Katara is already no longer a heroine of colour, but now she's not fighting against sexist attitudes within friend and foe. No Suki means that the Kyoshi warriors can't shake Sokka's original sexist attitudes, or bond with Katara over it.

So much fail in one scene, in just one part of MNS's 'vision'. So much that is so far away from the original source material. So much of the messages of the series, lost, warped or twisted.

Did Nickolodeon think about damage to the animated franchise while watching MNS move further and further away from their unexpectedly but wildly successful property? Are they thinking about it now? About mothers who control the tv remote? Fathers who don't believe in violence over reason?

Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko were lied to. And so were we fans. You can see it all in that one scene, even in a simple trailer.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

From Fantasy to GrimDark ApocaFuture

The reviews are coming in. You can find them via Twitter #Airbender or Trending Topic; The Last Airbender or boolean searching for; reviews + 'The Last Airbender'. I suggest taking the easy way out and just following Racebending @Twitter, who're linking as much as they can.

I am not surprised the movie is so horrible. Or rather, the last bits of surprise I had at how horrible the movie was going to be were blown away by the video script leaks I linked in a post a little while back.

I'm taking the time and effort to write about M.Night.S' (I do not approve of mockery of the man's name) interpretation in The Last Airbender, because I noticed a trend in the few professional critic reviews I saw.

These reviews seem to share a belief that the environment of THE LAST AIRBENDER happens in a future, dark and dismal version of our Earth. And I can't help wondering what is it about what M.Night.S has done, that reviewers aren't thinking of this world as its own fantasy setting, but instead as some kind of Vampire Hunter D, post-apocalyptic, society now has beings with unique 'mutant' powers, possible future.

Roger Ebert even mentions Steampunk, and the opportunity missed to play with that element and yet he also seems to think this is all about some distant future.

To me, a story about 'in some distant future a messiah figure will come' - is very different from 'in a world in need of heroes...' where there are fantasical creatures like the flying bison and flying lemurs etc...

It's very telling to me that reviewers are apparently not seeing fantasy in the tone of the film, no matter what actually happens in the film and instead align the story with scifi - grim, gritty, dark, humanity is scrounging to make a place scifi at that - dark future scifi.

I mean, imagine if critics walked out of the LOTR movies, thinking Gondor was the possible future of man, and, that NĂºmenor was simply code for our present day (perhaps even specifically the continent of America). How much would it change things for viewers to walk out thinking Mordor was a dark and dismal place as the result of nuclear war instead of decades and more of evil and evil sorcery?

The casting was fail and horrid, the script and dialogue is apparently full of fail and is horrid, the 3D doesn't do a lick damn thing and the direction is apparently leaning towards promoting stiff and blank acting. And yet, I keep remembering this:


iF MAGAZINE: How does this compare to the STAR WARS trilogy?

SHYAMALAN: Wow, this is hard to compare it to STAR WARS. STAR WARS is true religion to me. I can understand what people who are into religion feel when I think about STAR WARS, but if I can make a comparison, it is with the notion of “journey” both trilogies have. THE LAST AIRBENDER is truly the journey of this young maverick boy, Aaang. His journey is similar to the one of Luke Skywalker.



I repeat; M.Night S thought Avatar: The Last Airbender was going to be his Star Wars. Again, that's Star Wars. Sure he mentioned LOTR once or twice, but he also mentioned 'The Matrix' and more often mentioned STAR WARS.

Any A:TLAB (animated series) fan will tell you, bending is NOT the Force.

ETA: I am an A:TLAB fan. And I'm going back to dreaming about a remake.

Monday, June 21, 2010

On FWD, Juneteenth & Scapegoats

Many times when I comment to FWD (Feminists With Disabilities), I observe that I'm often the only one bringing up the racial implications compounding whatever ablist vs disability discussion is going on. I generally take this in stride with a sigh and a roll of my eyes, especially when someone jumps up to thank me for bringing more depth to the conversation.

On June 19th, Feminists With Disabilities hosted a Celebration of Helen Keller. June 19th, however, is Juneteenth; Emancipation Day. And someone called out FWD about not mentioning Juneteenth, which is a North American (continental) holiday and has begun to spread further since the 1980's.

And then, there was fail. And to my mind, the fail was NOT unexpected. The moderators of FWD appear (and there has been some statement to this fact) to have wanted to wait for the person whose idea HK's celebration was - Anna. But in doing so, they gave every appearance, of shoving an upset and angry and feeling marginalized Disabled Woman of Colour - into a corner for the 'right' person to deal with.

They did not reply to Rene of Womanist Musings to tell her they wanted to leave what to do next up to Anna. They did not reply to her emails. They made no sign whatsoever until Rene was left feeling she was shouting at a wall that was trying to smother her.

Meanwhile other people's comments were apparently getting through and being published and there was no sign as to whether if you comment at FWD enough times your comments go through automatically or if mods were actually keeping Rene's comments at bay until "Someone could come deal with them and the whole situation."

If someone had done that to a white woman with a disability - given the appearance that the 'right' and 'more tolerant' person needed to come and handle the hysterical 'cripple' woman - FWD's moderators and many of their commenters would have been beyond incensed.

If someone had given the impression that it was just too draining for them to deal with an angry woman with a disability - so they'd wait for the person who had the strength to do so; FWD's moderators and many of their commenters would have been enraged at the ablism and sexism.

What happened on June 19th on FWD, is not an isolated incident. It's an example of well meaning progressivism running around in a panic and not thinking because of that panic. And if that's not what happened, then what did? Because I find it hard to believe the FWD moderators did not foresee complications in comments and the need for a mod to handle it. Is that not why they have multiple mods with multiple duties and responsibilities?

The worse thing to happen though, is comments were shut down. Discussion was shut down. There was no 'We the mods have observed ad honemim attacks and they will not be getting through' and there was no 'We will be opening a separate post to deal with this issue'. It was just:



Hi Renee, I had chosen not to publish the rest of your comments yesterday as I did think your main concern was in the first one, and that publishing your other comments would detract from your concern. I will publish them all now.

I believe that conversations that take place at the speed-of-internet are rarely productive. There is an implicit demand that people react immediately, instead of taking careful, thoughful, and respectful action.

In light of that, I am closing comments here. I do not think that this conversation here will prove to be productive for any of the parties involved.

I am sorry that my actions and behaviour have caused this conversation to be necessary.


...instead of taking careful, thoughful, and respectful action...

...instead of taking careful, thoughful, and respectful action...

...instead of taking careful, thoughful, and respectful action...

I am so disappointed that it was Anna who made this statement. That it is her name up against this silencing. That it is her statement discussing thoughtful and respectful action, that closes comments in a non thoughtful and non respectful way.

And I am even MORE angry and disappointed that the other moderators of FWD, from the very beginning, have pushed her into taking the fall. That it is her name beside a statement that someone else, someone currently holding power, gets to decide what part of a marginalized person's comments and anger is relevant to the conversation about erasure.

To call this misstep after misstep after misstep is to be extremely generous in my view. FWD's moderators saw the word racist and ran; ran from having to self evaluate, ran from anger, ran from the ghost pains of white guilt.

Everything they'd done comes across as them wanting it all just to go away. I find myself thinking that they have had several unique experiences this year, where they should know better - because they didn't shut up. But at least this post will hardly be a surprise, because Anna knows I rarely keep my big mouth shut.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

1- Looking For A Path

Ugh.

I currently have a tremendous stomach ache from attempting this experiment in journaling out my frustrations and current difficulty writing fiction.

So I'm not sure how long this experiment will last.

But, I've attempted a start here on 'Conversations I Want To Have'. WordPress seems to offer better comment moderation than Blogger. And I had the account anyway from a few years ago before I moved to Blogger and was testing alternatives.

Maybe I'll feel better when I figure out how to back-up WP. Or maybe I'll be convinced by tomorrow that this is the wrong medium.

A Mini Carnival Of Links

Here is a collection of linked essays. Too often I hear that if it's not on Blogger or WP, if it's specifically on Livejournal and now more recently Dreamwidth, then it's a tempest in a teapot.

Here is discussion on aversive racism and the creative process that is likely being missed because of such attitudes.



It's Just A Story, from Aesc @ Livejournal.

War of the Worlds was one of many stories that H.G. Wells churned out in the infancy of modern science fiction, and one of many adaptations done for the Mercury Theater program, one that ran without much distinction (or much sponsorship). Yet this "just a story" famously incited deep anxiety across the United States, if not the outright panic and violence tradition attributes to its broadcast: people weren't running riot in the streets, but their fear was enough to be noted by newspapers across the country and the world. The adaptation of Wells's ridiculous alien novella, just a story, has a place next to the announcement of the bombing of Pearl Harbor as a historically significant radio broadcast--not for its facticity, but because of the fact that its narrative worked on a population so powerfully the nation had to notice. To this day, its legacy endures not only because of its status as part of H.G. Wells's canon, or Orson Welles's, but because of what it, in and of itself, did.

Some years later, J.K. Rowling wrote her Harry Potter books, a series of insigificant just-stories. It's been read by millions upon millions of people, in god knows how many languages, by kids and adults. Yet at the same time it's been banned in some US public and school (both public and private) libraries, evangelicals have spoken virulently against it for promoting witchcraft, and Pope Benedict XVI has condemned it. It's easy for agnostics, atheists, and religious individuals who don't adhere strictly to the orders of their authorities to say these are the attitudes of people who are sorely out of touch with reality, but it also suggests that the story is not just a story, that there is, in fact, something there, that the content is not devoid of meaning(s), nor is the content divorced from the world that both produces and receives it. This "just a story" (or, I guess, just seven stories) got kids to read and elated educators who worried about a generation more obssessed with TV and video games.

Another just-story, The Lord of the Rings became part of 1960s and 70s counterculture. The massive collection of notebooks that produced it, and the letters J.R.R Tolkien exchanged with friends and fans, speak to Tolkien's desire to create a distinctly British mythos, his desire to preserve nature from the march of industrialization and depersonalization, that myth would survive even as empiricism threatened to strip romance out of the world.

So, my question is, why "it's just a story" exists, given overwhelming evidence of the fact that stories aren't "just" anything. A related question is why people think "it's just a story" is actually a defensible argument.


*_________________*


Oh, the hue and the cry!... from Ephemere @ Dreamwidth.
But there are times when one has to speak, because silence is damning. I am in a place where there are so many things I wish to say, but cannot; these times when I can speak are precious to me, and rare, and all the more deserving of being seized and grasped and held on to because of that. I'm tired of the silence, tired of gentleness, tired of courtesy, because sometimes when a person is harrowing up old wounds and creating fresh ones in my heart it's such an effort to bite my tongue and smile and say, I have nothing against you, but please don't do that.

Let me say, then: how dare you try to silence us, how dare you try to bind our hands yet again as we strike at the system. How dare you dismiss our anger. How dare you.


*_________________*



On Nation Language, Gibberish and Why Both Aren't The Same from JazzyPom @ Dreamwidth.
"To speak a language is to take on a world, a culture." Fanon says, and the implicit notion that to put away a language is to bury a world and culture, which is what colonalisation and learning the culturally accepted language demands you to do. In Australia, they did one better, by taking the indigenous children away from their communities, and the first thing to go (after the bonds, and culture) was the chance of learning their nation language (L1).

Which brings me back to... the notion of dismissing Haiti's nation language as gibberish, it hit me hard, because of the reasons detailed above. For most colonised areas, you didn't learn English, or Spanish or French because it pleased you, but to survive and get ahead, especially if you weren't white.


*_________________*


How could they? How could anyone? from Facetofcathy @ Dreamwidth.
I absolutely believe that the author did not know this story was offensive. I absolutely believe that the author did not know they wrote racist depictions of Haitian people. I absolutely believe the artist did not realize that using pictures of Haitian people was offensive. I absolutely believe that the artist did not know that was a racist act. I just don't think any of that matters.


*_________________*


Now, I know some people will say 'This is a bunch of discussion about fanfic and is thus unimportant'. But what it is, is a part of the long conversation of which Racefail09 was just a little part - a part of a conversation some people finally paid attention to. And the listed essays here is showing who's still thinking about that, working through it, making it relevant.

If there's been an instance of published writers calling out other published writers (since '09), showing as a community that they're still thinking about these topics and checking themselves and trying to learn and grow and rectify - email me and point me to it.

Because I'm fairly certain the same thing as happened with the prompt for these discussions happens in the professionally published writer's world; beta readers = writing groups and editors and friends and family. And often they see nothing wrong with the stereotypes being presented or if they do they say nothing (or get ignored as they try to bring it up)

And then we're left with phrases like: prepare the land for human habitation. Oh Patricia Wrede, how I'll never forget you.

These are not quite the conversations I want to have - but they're conversations I don't mind having, when people are up to speed and engaged.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Headsplodey

If 1 in 5 of the plot-points/plot-facts mentioned in the following two linked videos on Failbender the Movie are true (and there are a LOT of plot points) - that on top of the racefail/castingfail equals... tripe.

Tripe mated with pondscum on a hot summer day.

It's up to those reading to watch the videos and deal with the spoilers if they so desire. I tried making a list of all the fail and just - HEAD. SPLODEY.

The appropriation doesn't stop. There's also some serious sexism. I'm fairly certain I spotted some agism (in a movie for kids). There's also a lack of agency on the part of the kids, along with a lack of foresight, tactics, subterfuge or survival skills.

The thing that enraged me beyond the telling of it, was EarthBenders who need a white (male) kid to inspire them to fight back - when they're surrounded by nothing BUT earth.

I mean, there's nitpick wtf by the dozens, of course; places interchanged, confused, split in half or just plain wrong; ideology that's wrong, circumstances and situations shifted that lose their meanings etc...

But the isms...

Vid 1.


Vid 2.

PS: Apparently all the kid swag to promote the film has been giving away the movie's plot points and shots etc in books and puzzles and who knows what else.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

The Bullet of White Ignorance Racism

meggugt @ LJ, states: Not to be rude, but Lynching is not just limited to blacks. Anyone could be lynched. Lynching is hanging, and in some places is still concidered a legal form of execution carried out by law inforcement. While Shinga's a sweetheart for apologizing, I don't actually see that she had a need. You're taking something that was once a common form of lawful execution here in the states and being over-sensitive about it because some racist ass-holes who lived years ago decided that it was ok to use it against blacks just because they didn't like them. What they did was wrong, but lynching isn't to blame, the people who did it are.
Please don't blame a thing or a term for the mistakes of a mass of stupid near sighted people.


Lynching is hanging, and in some places is still concidered a legal form of execution carried out by law inforcement.

Lynching is hanging, and in some places is still concidered a legal form of execution carried out by law inforcement

Lynching is hanging, and in some places is still concidered a legal form of execution carried out by law inforcement

_*_


Dear Meggugt of Livejournal,

Even Wikipedia wants to know wtf is up with your ignorance about lynching.

_*_


Y'know, if white people weren't so intent on continuing this mythology that it was just a few bad apples responsible for slavery and jim crow (and apartheid) - they wouldn't have to be so damn worried that there's a coming race war that needs constant stamping down through intimidation, rights denial and murder. And y'know, the world might actually get someplace.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Princess In The City

This post is the culmination of two essays that I suddenly realized were really one.

---

Sometime last week, I watched the Sex and the City Movie. The first one.

I couldn't read and wanted to watch something mindless and it was on, and well, I watched it. Twice actually since the first time through I couldn't believe I was watching it and flipped the channel many, many times.

And just as I was beginning to understand the level of boredom and lack of focus that might lead individuals to think getting drunk is an amazing idea - It occurred to me, that Sex and the City is a 21st century fairytale.

To be specific, a 21st Century Fairy Tale for white, cis, het, currently able bodied western, North American, Christian leaning/familiar women.

A Fairy Tale where there are women, with Princes and challenges to get their Prince or prove their worth to their Prince (shades of Psyche's redemption journey) and get their Happily Ever After. Except for Samantha, who's apparently a really, really, really bad combination of misguided ideas of what a sexually independent older woman must be - which is apparently a female body guided by 'male morals, ethics and emotional responses' - in a way that isn't presented as trans and unfortunately conforms to a lot of male stereotypes; like boredom with monogamy and why men get beer bellies when they're married.

BUT, as I was saying, it's a Fairy Tale. With Fairy Tale meetings, Fairy Tale sex, Fairy Tale trials and obstacles, Fairy Tale miscommunication or lack of communication, Fairy Tale weddings and Fairy Tale endings.

Now please let us put a temporary hold on the type of protagonist in this Fairy Tale and all her particular needs, wants, desires, instincts and self-sabotages.

I feel I must have mentioned before my laywoman's perspective on the Gothic Romance roots of Paranormal Romance and Paranormal Romance (with gore and suspense, possibly mystery) aka-ed as Urban Fantasy. And I think this origin explains why it's so difficult for me to read those kinds of stories these days, despite how much I love the concept of modern life, particularly modern city life, with fantastic beings and abilities and powers.

Because there's a woman no one understands, somewhat isolated from her peers and society, with a certain hurt and a certain loneliness and out there, circumstance will bring her to a 'good catch', who is also somewhat isolated and hurt in his own way, with troubles on his brow and grave responsibilities.

The Dark Prince.

The Dark Prince for the Dark Princess; the one without the cadre of three or so close personal friends to stroke her ego, support her decisions and delight with her in the sunshine, rainbows and wishes of the brighter fairy tales.

And L.A. Banks' characters aside, and the odd WoC 'Chick-Lit', the bulk and majority of these women, these Princesses, are white. And in the case of the Dark Princess, her pale, skinny, flat belly showing on the cover beauty, doesn't seem to understand that physically fighting and battling her monsters and darker shadows involves getting dirty and needing to protect vital organs.

No matter what, a Princess never gets physical scars - only emotional ones that can be healed by the right man, with the right touch and the right Fairy Tale circumstances.

So let's bring the protagonist of SitC (and her ilk) back (unstick the pin, unpause the hold).

It's always FAIRY TALE circumstances, a blatant 'unattainable' for anyone else - and not because it's 'fantasy'. The (SitC) Bright Princess, like an anime magical girl has all good things come to those with the power of heart and determination.

The Bright Princess - The Insider,
aka a Suzy Homemaker; whether it be with cookies or designer house couture.

'The Dark Princess' appeals though a framework that mentions empowerment and sets the reader up to see through the eyes of a character brought, dragged, fallen into, or trying to survive in this world within a world where the rules are all different than what the majority faces and there's a need to be taken seriously and make a place.

The Dark Princess - The Outsider.
aka a Jesse Jetset-Jobhaver ; the hyphenated working woman, facing battles no one can appreciate in a world that can't or won't understand her and her mission.

My whole life is about worlds within worlds. Everyday I live in multiple worlds, trying to balance and keep my head and not lose myself. But I can't see myself or anyone I know in these characters and scenarios. They might talk about home and sanctuary and family but they don't reflect my needs or experiences.

They might talk about prejudice and oppression, but again, they don't reflect my reality. It's all buzz words and the half naked, bestial devoted soul-mate/partner has a white man deep inside - and his great sin is not trusting in the self determination/independence of his white woman. Or occasionally, I've seen one or two books out there , deep inside the bestial blood lusting soul-mate is a devoted white woman for the odd lesbian pairing.

It's all so co-opting and oblivious, like a movie girl in glasses taking them off and suddenly discovering her inner cheerleader or a movie undesirable discovering she alone has the power to fight the darkness, where in both cases she just needed the right school and the right group of friends to notice her, and cultivate her.

It's exceptionalism, which perhaps is a seed within all Fairy Tales. Except these Fairy Tales have set the bar for what is acceptable to be exceptional. Only a certain type of girl (woman if she's had sex before) gets tapped to be cultivated.

There's a very nice essay here about The Audience; that is the people a writer is expecting to read and enjoy their story - who may not necessarily be anything like the actual people who end up with the book or novel in their hands.

And it helps me sum up my thoughts that The Bright Princess and The Dark Princess are for a particular audience; Sex in the City & Paranormal Romance/Urban Fantasy are for a particular set of readers. They tap a particular audience and say 'This is your wish-fullfillment of being chosen, of being swept away, of finding physical ways to represent your self determination'. Much, perhaps, in the same way superhero comic books, these days, tap middle aged white men and try to kiss and nuzzle them into the selfish, self-involved fantasies of their younger years - where girls have cooties or are unattainable prize beauties and everyone that matters is their best male friend.

[ASIDE:] I'm not sure I have the wherewithal right now to get into how Chicklit and Romance have been pushed as the kind of wish-fullfillment that girls and women should want; the types of fantasies and adventures they should want to have or dream about and how Paranormal Romance/ Paranormal Romance w/ Martial Arts or Guns (Urban Fantasy) comes across as a way to reach for more action, while still dealing with the trappings of Romance grooming and also include some sexual revolution with erotica and women claiming pleasure sexually vs claiming pleasure at being chosen to be loved. BUT I do want to put a side note for it, and also point how how it's only a certain kind of woman, a certain class, race, of a certain experience who got pushed into dreaming about handsome hunks, and weddings and exotic vacation romance - and thus who've ended up feeling a need to 'break out'.

It's like when people mention 'Women going out into the workforce and leaving the kitchens in the 60's/70's'; they don't mean all women. It's just that Black maids and Asian restaurateurs and Latina cantina/cafeteria workers* who'd all BEEN supporting their families, don't count.

--

*Or Greek seamstresses or Italian secretaries etc... [/ASIDE]


So coming back to the Fairy Tale and those who don't get the Fairy Tale; those who get a different story of escape. I've spoken before about what stories get told to me as being for me; Ghetto Lit. Where the Prince, Robin Hood, Hero Hood/Hood Hero foremost male protagonist is from a gang, or is some kind of thug with a history in prison. And the Princess main female protagonist is a girl who knows how to work it, who wants the bling, who's been degraded at some point in her life and treated as less than and she will climb beyond that - and not Cinderella style degraded by the way; I don't recall gang initiation rapes, or forced prostitution even in the old, bloody, toe loosing, birds pecking out eyes versions.

Whether it's Ghetto Lit for teens or Ghetto Lit for adults, whether it's a barrio or the hood, the beasts don't have magical powers, or shapeshifting abilities, they have guns and knives and attitude - and they're "products of their environment" with every negative stereotype that phrase implies.

While some individuals, one cultivated audience, gets told to dream of kicking ass, taking names, and having it all (reasonably middle class and above), including sexual satisfaction - another gets told that their escape, their dreams are (or should be) about getting one over on the cops, staying out of prison and getting their baby's father to admit to blood kinship.

Sometimes, in the telling of the Bright & Dark (for white) Fairy Tales, someone gets to be a lady-in-waiting, an attendant, like Jessica Hudson's character Louise; a magical negress, who's properly trying to attain the Bright Fairy Tale (right down to renting parts of it when necessary). And in return for good service, gets given a totem of respect from the 'Princess' as she goes off towards her now stamped and approved lesser noble marriage - far from court of course.

These are the stories we, as a society, are telling ourselves. Wait no. These are the stories, the expectations, the fundamentals of dreams and fantasy, the Fairy Tales being set forth, sent forward and ingrained by those at the top; with the power. Be this kind of Princess and get this kind of reward. Be this kind of Princess and get this feeling of accomplishment.

What? You don't fit our definition of Princess (From Disney poofy skirt to Chick Lit perfect slippers to UF gritty leather pants) ? Too bad.



[Comments On. Usual Rules Apply Closed due to spammers]

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Nnendi Okorafor Redux

Nendi Okorafor wrote a post. This would be where I mention and quote it.

And this link, goes to a blank page where Okorafor has deleted her post, her thoughts, tried to erase her history/actions online.

Unfortunately my trusty screencapture didn't catch her words. I don't know what happened. But googlecache still has her words, sans WS's comment. And I do have a confirmed screencapture of the cache.

It's been mentioned before that in the world of hyperlink essays and conversations - deleting is heinous. It's an attempt to silence the voice of the other person, and any conversations that happened in that space. It's an attempt to say 'That person is lying on me, because where are my words? You can't find them can you!'

Luckily, once something's on the internet, chances are - it's on there forever. So choose your words wisely - or at least be able to admit you made them.

It's Not A Conspiracy. It's just Nostalgia.

Genderswitched Aang & The Gaang.

Toph: Exactly the same.

Or so says the artist (~carrinth). And that really annoys me. Because there's no reference in that to 'overprotected blind child of parents dealing with rampant ablism and who don't see child as individual with talents'. Is it some sort of pun, I guess to Toph's strength and demeanor and how delighted she was to be played by a Man in 'The Ember Island Players'? Does Toph being strong and actve make her less a girl?

And I guess the annoyance goes along with F!Zuko suddenly being part of an arranged marriage instead of being the heir who was disgracedn and now complaining about dying alone and a virgin. And my annoyance that F!Sokka suddenly just wants to settle down and find a nice boyfriend.

F!Aang is adorable, but is defined by her crush on M!Katara where it's also M!Katara who's out to save the world.

Are any artists who do such interesting gender switched art, thinking about how the story-paths for the characters change in their heads?

At least there was that bit about M!Katara unable to find any defenseless females.

*sigh*

Oh yeah, and Nickolodeon* wants only white Power Ranger Leads. *If you did buy the franchise back Saban, this is how you handle things?

...

That wooshing sound you hear in your ears is important and symbolic.

Last Airbender Fail - Just Keeps Giving

via: 30 Ninjas.Cojm /Blog.


Aasif Mandvi: He’s in competition with Zuko. [But] it’s not just being in competition with Zuko. He has a very fundamental point of view and he’s fundamentally bereaved that he is more the rightful heir to the throne than Zuko is. And it’s very Edgar/Edmund from King Lear. I played the relationship between me and Dev [Patel]’s character very much like the relationship between Edgar and Edmund in King Lear. You know, they’re the two brothers. One is the bastard son, and one is the legitimate son. And Zhao is clearly the bastard son of the Fire Lord.


This is clearly what happens when you encourage your actors not to interact/read the source material. They decide their character is important based on XYZ (it's very Shakespearean Actors Going For More Lines) and spout off what may be unintentionally misogynist phrases about how the battle for the crown is between two men.

Azula? What Princess Of Unmerciful & Terrifying Firebending Ability? There's a royal woman somewhere? What?

PS: (Aasif) Mandvi

"It’s about colonialism. It’s about aggression"


Colonialism and (imperial) Aggression can't be separated from race theory. The idea of we the aggressors are right and bright and all that is good and proper and they the conquered are in need of our knowledge and benevolence and mastery and to be under our control?

That can't be separated from race theory.


"I mean, the thing is that the Fire Nation, as it is seen in this movie, really represents a sort of a hybrid of the Japanese Empire, the British Empire, the Nazis, the American Empire, this kind of imperial aggressive force in the world. And not to touch too much on the race stuff, but what I will say about it is if you just look at it as brown people versus white people, you are reducing it a little bit. It is a little bit more complicated than that. Because when you look at the Fire Nation as created in this film, it is kind of a hybrid of a lot of different influences, Eastern, Western, European. It’s British, it’s American, it’s Japanese, it’s Middle Eastern. It is a lot of things."


No one's just looking at it as brown vs white. People are looking at it as a history of propaganda where brown is dangerous, wild, evil and out of control; propaganda based on imperialism, colonialism and racism vs white as the saviors where the same propaganda has white as the champions for all that is good.

Invoking the Japanese Empire alongside the British and American empires doesn't absolve the racist and bigoted history of imperialism. Ask Koreans, or some venerated elders from Thailand. And did you just bring up West Asia in vague vague terms of 'some Middle Eastern empire somewhere' and not specifically the Persian and Ottoman Empires? With all the real world history (of Western Imperial Interference) specificity would bring?

Sheesh, I didn't know becoming an actor and promoting a movie was a form helpless puppetted subservience to the Studio. I guess you'll be glad when the Daily Show writers can give you intellectually witty and pointed things to say again on race, class and gender. In which case I think those are the better puppet masters for you.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

A Very Public Post

Dear Nnedi Okorafor

When W*ll**m Sh*tt*rly is AGREEING WITH YOU (and complimenting you - on being a good negro) - that's a sign you took a wrong turn into internalized isms and non confrontational agreeableness and have lost. your. way.

I bring you back to Chimamanda Adichie, and The Danger Of A Single Story. Which I think is one of the single best lectures/explanations of how Colonialism, and Privilege affect the psychology and sociology of the global landscape.

The stories we tell ourselves, shape ourselves. The tropes and stereotypes we repeat to ourselves begin to have a foundation that's at the very least subconsciously counted on as truth.

I am extremely and immensely hurt that you would not consider broader context and the complexities of media representation and have seemingly bought into exceptionalism and how it conquers all; everything from racism to sexism.

I don't begrudge your right to have/hold your own opinions. But I do begrudge you, as a seen and known writer of colour making this statement public:


My point is that I think we should refrain from blindly stamping every film with a white male main character who seeks to infiltrate an "other" society and ends up changing things forever as a "white man saves the day" film or a racist film (does that sentence make sense?). It's unknowingly privileging such characters, as if their mere presence makes them instantly special. I think we should take each film as it comes.
 


Ms. Okorafor, it is NOT people of colour who are privileging those white characters who save the day and influence their circumstances by their specialness. Recognizing the trope is NOT perpetuating it.

How can you not see that?

Sunday, May 23, 2010

PS

Yes, I know Chris Sims' article is causing a stir online (look it up). Why? Well he's a white man - that's one. He's politely pointing out, that maybe perhaps even though they didn't mean it to, DC's actions come across sort of bigoted and perhaps to those who have an axe to grind, somewhat racist - that's two.

The third kicker of course is the fact that a regular, transphobic, homophobic, red blooded white man is agreeing that there's something racially short sighted in how DC does things. When someone who seems 'just like a regular white guy' sees a problem, then maybe someone should look into that.

Am I fed up with people pointing to Chris without pointing to what came before, who wrote before, who called out before? Yes. I am fed up with having to be grateful when people mention the whitewashing of Vixen? Yes. Am I fed up that someone is once again equating racism with the KKK and not with a system of aversion and subtle white preferentiality and white superiority - of course they're not racist, they're just short sighted - and that is being lauded as the best article on point? Oh hells yes.

It might be just another day ending in Y during a cycle where people want to seem like they're paying attention; or where things are just too blatant to ignore.

I am tired of it.

But I find myself more irked "And the white man shall lead us and pearls of wisdom shall fall from his mouth" - especially because he makes it so easy for individuals NOT to examine their own privilege and preferentiality.

Why, there's nothing socially twisted in their minds - they're just short sighted and nostalgic and it means NOTHING that they're nostalgic for a time period of Jim Crow laws, and lynching and wrongful experimentation because black people weren't even really human.

Nostalgia. What will they call it next?

Friday, May 14, 2010

In Case You'd Not Noticed

This blog doesn't much follow comics anymore.

BUT, for the record, yes, I know about the Somali Pirates, the little white childen as possible slave labour & sexual toys and all the racist wrong  [Brightest Day #1 DC]. But neither DC or Marvel want my money as a woman, a black woman, or a black woman who is gay (far less as a black woman who is gay and was born somewhere outside the USA).

The people who still spend money have said something. Search Engine and you will find it.

Meanwhile have some Luke Cage without 'bling and hos'.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

We Are Not Dye To Be Dipped Into And Completely Absorbed

I will not say: no foreigners allowed. That is a rather horrible thing to say considering an overwhelming tendency here to welcome foreigners with open arms and bend over backwards for them, at the cost of discriminating against our fellow...

Instead I will say: this is no country for strangers. This is not a people that can be known by observation alone, without the risk of actual engagement. This is no land where you can set yourself apart and then delude yourself with claims that comprehension naturally comes with high-minded goals and noble intentions to enlighten a system whose only fundamental flaw is ignorance of your ways. This is not a place that needs more foreigners coming in to visit, then taking away with them their misconceptions and their privileged judgments -- because we have been misrepresented enough, not just in the international community but also amongst ourselves, and false categorizations and claims about who we are and where we came from and where we should go are unneeded and shouldn't be welcomed.


This is an entry you should read. It's about, among other things, colonialism and imperialism. Colonial and imperialistic thought broken down and exposed and showing brilliant explanatory lead ins to my point that it is already known the real question being asked is "You want us to give up our monopoly over your people/culture/history/stories???!!!??"

I'm late to the band-wagon of promoting this essay, due to various health distractions. But it is worth reading, re-reading, bookmarking, saving and printing it and probably carrying around with you in your wallet.

Eco-tourism, fiscal-tourism, polisci-experimental tourism, writer-tourism, sex-tourism & more; all of it 'you need to cater to our ways of doing things, our needs, our desires and then everything will be fine - you will live up to and become US, the ultimate world champions; the more powerful nation/people etc...'.