I think I have a serious peeve, twitch, irk, grating aggravation conception against Prophecy in Fiction. But it's a specific type of prophecy - because I'm sat here thinking that ' I know Duke Crocker from Haven's meant to die at the hands of someone with a particular tattoo and it doesn't bother me'.
So, what's the difference? Well first of all? It's who made the prophecy. I actually know. And when it was made - recently. And why it was made - because this was the seers gift/curse to see how people will die.
Does such a curse/gift make sense? No, not really. But I can take a step back for the sake of the in universe logic. Such an ability exists. And it has foreseen this main character's death.
Which leads to number four. This is a prophecy about how someone will die. It's specific. Most of the time it's 'The prophecized one' and there's some hazy handwavium about greatness against darkness or against the ultimate or some shite like that. Sometimes it's 'this is the one prophezied to end you - great evil mustache twirling baddie'. And there's only one prophecy of such type I actually buy into - the one regarding a certain baby ending the days of a certain King. Ahem. And it's got nothing to do with faith. It's got everything to do with the structure of the story making it seem like fate is sending out wireless signals, and of course this king had a hookup with the right people to try and clone those signals and read the messages. It was not, let's say, a message he was supposed to get - but he was working the angles.
So I guess that's the second kind of 'prophecy' I can handle. When something is on the wings of magic or existence and some folks with the skill to read it (but who shouldn't be reading it), hijack into the future to find out stuff. And then? I honestly can't remember in this case if it was one item amidst dross, or if they were particularly searching for 'shall our employer be thwarted and leave us all out of jobs'.
I guess, I guess now that I'm writing it out - the thing that's upset me, aggravated me, pissed me off about prophecy in spec fic is that it's mostly a shortcut path to 'This is our chosen one - awwwh!' (cue the choir). The prophecy makes the character special. The prophecy means they were MEANT to do xyz and 123. The prophecy is guiding the tale, guiding their lives, blah blah blankety blah blah.
No one ever knows who gave the phrophecy. No one ever discusses the reliability of the source. No one ever discusses the possibility the information within it might have been warped - given that these shortcuts to greatness tend to be decades upon decades old, sometimes centuries old. Who the heck was trying to hijack the future that far ahead and for what purpose? it's just 'There is a Chosen One w/i this prophecy and that prophecy and this is the one! Awwwh!' (cue the choir again).
There's never a culture set up in these universes of honoring prophets either. Of say, having individuals for whom jacking into fate or the future is their gift/curse, and they have special school/temples/complexes with archives and librarians and they just see EVERYTHING (the poor suckers) and it all gets written down and someone somewhere decides that this prophecy is nothing but The Farm Cycle. And that orphecy is 'OMG The Royal House Shall Fall!!!'
Also, why are there never any consequences involving these prophecies? And no, I'm not meaning just in time for the protaganist to have some conflict. But why hasn't the 'Royal House' which 'Shall Fall' not hidden the prophecy, destroyed it, refuted it, burnt and salted the earth of the place where it came to be. Why isn't there a culture AGAINST seers (as much as there should be one for them)? Why isn't there misinformation purposely spread so this or that noble house could continue to survive, so that someone couldn't attempt to fit the bill of said prophecy in order to defeat their enemies (or maybe just people they didn't like)?
There is one other prophecy I actually liked. From the movie BulletProof Monk. And what I liked about it there is that the SAME prophecy held true for each individual who'd end up being 'special' over the years. That it was like a contract with fate "Once these circumstances happen, these individuals will be primed to be the next xyz." Like a program with a loop. In which case it feels less shortcut and more 'When the time is right, you will begin to know because fate loops this way. These things will always happen'. When you say something will ALWAYS happen - then it gets mystical to me. Then I don't take a step back so much, or at least can take a step forward into the world again, because the same circumstance for each individual through the years? That's actually interesting to me. And in the case of BulletProof Monk (the movie) it's VERY interesting. Because it's very specific. But not just for 'one' chosen, for every chosen. Ever. Forever. And it says nothing about whether said individual will succeed or fail - just that 'when these things happen, pay attention to this individual - it will be important'.
So what do we have, what do I have?
I need to know who made the prophecy. Why they made it. When they made it. How it's lasted so long (if it's been years and years). Is it untampered? What about it gives it the ring of truth? Was it specifically looked for? Is it about a specific situation? A specific circumstance? Was the seer trustworthy? Why does this prophecy matter? Why was the prophecy created ?
What I don't need; what I cannot enjoy reading is 'And the BLAH TITLE BLAH Prohecy has states a chosen one will come, and lo there will be turmoil, and yea verily the ultimate moment of the ultimate struggle shall arise....'
[hah, it looks like somethings just feel as if they belong here - even though, OMGWF is w/ all the white and open space blogger. Oh my EYES. Andwhy are my tags all squished up in a corner? OMG the gurbleick!]
Saturday, November 17, 2012
Friday, September 7, 2012
Considering that I'm active on there almost daily, as compared to over here which had dropped down to about twice a month, I'm thinking it's time I put it as an 'official move'. If there's a way to combine blogger and tumblr (blogging and tumbling/micro-blogging), I'll update here about it.
But I just did an introspective post on Tumblr (one of many in recent days in fact) that makes it seem likely that Seeking Avalon; Version 3 is over there. And I've changed the name to suit(well, will put in the V3 once I figure out subtitles). It is the new Seeking Avalon, at least as of now.
I have no idea what upkeep of posts will be like here. So, yeah, official announcement, blah blah blah.
Hmm, I wonder if the solution might be a multi-post client....
Tuesday, July 31, 2012
Under byline S. Willow, I wrote a Korra review for site: Pop Culture Social Club. It came out today.
I was asked to write a review about the show; The Legend Of Korra, a universe sequel to Avatar: The Last Airbender (ATLAB). The problem is, I can’t. I can’t, because that’s not the show I watched. That’s not the show that was presented. The show I watched was ‘Tales From Republic City’. And it was a very specific type of tale – a traditional kyriarchial, not particularly Asianic tale about the call to adventure for several men. I didn’t enjoy it very much.
Legend of Korra (LoK) was supposed to be about the Avatar; the one elemental master capable of utilizing all four (or depending on your point of view, if you include ‘Spirit’, all five) of the elements. And yet the title character, the supposed central character is woefully misused. Despite being in mostly every scene, Korra and her related themes didn’t have much of a developed role. For a show called LoK, there really wasn’t much about Korra, or her actions that was specifically legendary.
More of the essay here, at their site.
Friday, July 20, 2012
So I've been messing about on Tumblr after all (http://seekingwillow.tumblr.com). It's got people I've missed talking/interacting with - but it's still nothing but a rolling comment system. I'm wary of my content there, trying not to put too much on, etc.
I think I've missed conversations.
And I could have conversations here, except Blogger's comment system has never been the best for that; I loathe Disqus; and it'd still involve moderation of asshats.
I guess I should figure out crossposting for when I do more than comment on other people's stiff - which hasn't been often. And I should probably transfer the few posts I've made here given I have the original posts written offline.
Wednesday, July 11, 2012
I met a comic book geek today - the exterminator. When he was spraying in my bedroom, he noticed my collection. Said it looked like I was a Marvel Fan. I said, no actually Batman's my favorite, those are all just the ones that I feel like dusting. Anyway, I ended up having a conversation wherein I was face to face with, I think an average guy - a comic book, specifically superhero guy.
And he's excited by the 'New Superman'. And the new Green Lantern. Recced me his favourite local/nearby comic book store.
But he also said somethings. Some things, not just about liking that Superman bleeds now and even loses sometimes and that makes him more relatable - while I stood there thinking about Superman's extended cast being in danger or held hostage or his principles holding him back and wondering if that kind of writing is somehow not 'enjoyable' to the average fan - even one saying he likes that Superman has to try and out think his foes now.
The thing he said was - I'm an average comic book geek and I think girls who like comics are the best of both worlds. It's awesome.
I was able to distract him - unintentionally - from his job (he still had to deal with upstairs) for about a good 15 minutes just talking about comics; talking about learning to read on comics, and having fallen for old school representations of certain characters; growing up on Alan Scott's Green Lantern and The Phantom and Dick Tracy and reading Spiderman and Batman and World's Finest and Huntress as Helena Kyle Wayne.
And it just struck me that he thought I was so uncommon. Either cause I'm black and a woman individually or combined. And I don't think I'm uncommon at all.
And I was just struck in a visceral way on expectations and representation and self-fulfilling prophecy. I may always be that woman he had a conversation about comics with this one time on a job, who talked about her father getting her comics and her father's favourites and her own. And other graphic novels and Watchmen and more. And maybe it'll mean something uncommon to him, that I was talking about old school character history and a 'remember when'.
And maybe it wouldn't be so damn uncommon if the perception courted and perpetuated that 'Girls/Women Don't Read Comics'. If it was accepted that we like a good story as much as anyone, have favourites, are interested in elseworlds, can say things like 'Damien's kind of Jason 2.0'. And 'Dick will never be my Batman' - if we weren't treated as such an oddity.
The last time I felt like such an 'oddity' was back in highschool being quizzed. And it felt that way again, with him watching my face to see if I knew who this person was, or that person, or this arc or that arc. Dropping 'Logan' as if I don't know it's Wolverine. Or Kingdom Come as if I'd have never heard of it (granted I read the novel). Though maybe I shouldn't think of it as a test, maybe he was just being geeky the way I was just being geeky for that 15 minutes; talking about growing disinterested or dropping Marvel or DC or both, and friends who've given up or gotten back in.
But it still felt so weird and oddly upsetting, that it wasn't 'Oh hey, a comic book fan'. But 'OMG! A comic book fan! Really? Are you really?!'
Monday, June 11, 2012
ETA: Snippet from response2
"We also desire Portraits of differing ethnicities for the Player, and
perhaps this is something we will be able to do in Year 2. It certainly is
a reasonable request."
Putting this in a separate post, because, wanting representation/ to see myself; having to send an email and point out the lack of representation, having to deal with their excuses of; dragons, magic, floating islands, but having nonwhites just wouldn't quite work, but you're asking for it is a 'reasonable request'....
The expectation that I and me and mine should have to BEG and ASK and POINT OUT we deserve to show up?
IS SOMETHING I FUCKING RESENT.
No. fucking. more.
I shouldn't even have sent the first damn email. Or pointed out the Moors and the Renaissance aren't mutually exclusive in the second. I sure as hell ain't pointing out that if someone had to email them to ask 'where are the girls?' and be told 'that's a reasonable request, maybe in year 2' - perhaps they might, maybe could see the problem 'clearer' as relates to humanity and representation.
I don't need to give them my money (especially when they don't seem to fucking want it).
Despite my better judgement, I have just sent off an email via the 'contact us' mailto link at Academagia, asking them if they have any response over the fact there are no nonwhite character portraits and I had yet to see any nonwhite NPC character portraits.
But I'm going to say publically right now? That I RESENT having to do so. I resent having to bring up the fact that there are people making games who have forgotten that me and mine exist. I resent having to 'remind' them that I exist. I resent the types of replies others before me have gotten (from other spheres), and which I will more than likely get here, full of dithering and blabbering about 'not seeing colour' and aw shucks, and whatever - if I get a reply back at all.
Something as simple as a character portrait; far less expensive than pervasive character models - and yet, there wasn't one thought that in a world of dragons and magic and magical schools and people being born under stars of destiny - IT JUST MIGHT NOT BE AN ALL WHITE WORLD.
Or there just might be People of Colour, interested in fantasy and games and magic and visual novels who'd appreciate seeing characters like themselves?
The bullshit that the only colour creators and businesses see is green (or whatever colour money is dominant in their living area) is just that; BULLSHIT.
Because clearly, these individuals don't want my money. It's not good enough somehow.
Tell me that's not something to resent; the lack of acknowledgement of my existence as a person, of the history that went into creating me, of my interests and hobbies.
Tell me it's not something to resent, this lack of people who look like my family, my neighbours, my friends, my community, and my ancestors. And as a multiracial individual? I'm speaking of a broad range of brown and black and dark and non white here.
PS: I refuse to spend money on games where I have to do modifying work in order to see a fantasy version of my reality, one that includes me as I am. This isn't about games where you don't get to choose the propagandist so you're making a choice at the start when you buy it to be this or that gender, or this or that ethnicity with this or that set of skills. The background ability for creation in this game is IMMENSE. In fact scouring the forums, it seems the characters (with portraits) are meant to grow and age over a five year period as the game progresses with installments. So much thought. So much detail. They just stopped short of offering up a world with nonwhites in it. Whereas a somewhat similar game? Magical Dairy? Does include PoC, including as a possibility for the PC.
ETA: Snippet from response
"On the other hand, while the City of Mineta is very cosmopolitan, the Renaissance/Reformation setting precludes a lot of long-distance travel and thus the majority are caucasian."
Totally what I expected. I am so. damn. done.
ETA: Snippet from response2
"We also desire Portraits of differing ethnicities for the Player, and
perhaps this is something we will be able to do in Year 2. It certainly is
a reasonable request."
ETA: PS 'non-caucasian ethnicity', doesn't exist. Being caucasian isn't an ethnicity. South East Asians are caucasian, their ethnicity is South East Asian. Straight up, talk about nonwhite, it's whiteness that's the problem. But of course, they won't.
Saturday, June 2, 2012
I have, strong but incomplete thoughts on 'modeled behavior'. Why it matters, how it contributes to intergenerational trauma, how it's influenced and perpetuated by the media and why the very acknowledgement of it, as a concept and function of healthy human dynamics in broader generalized terms makes so much aversive racism/I didn't know it was racism defensiveness when called out, equal so much BULLSHIT.
There's also something brewing about sexism and other isms being modeled; from where they're being modeled, how they're modeled (and excused) and how that creates self-perpetuating systems of oppression.
But the thoughts aren't complete, because there's so, very much involved, from the dog whistle; children need two married parents/two married heterosexual parents, to gays turn you gay. This thing where somehow it's only ever parents who deviate from the (societally approved) 'norm' modeling behavior, but no one and nothing else is creating a framework for which any and everyone from ages 0-30 picks up concepts on how to handle the world around them.*
But basically? Gay Panic Defense? Modeled. Rape Culture? Modeled. Sexism? Modeled. All those books talking about the commodification and sexualization of girlhood? They're discussing modeling. The doll test? That was about what was modeled.
And there are hazier thoughts about what European, European Descended interference in PoC ways of life, tribal structure, family structure - the degradation, humiliation and subjugation of various peoples was modelling and how coping mechanisms of that were modeled and how striking out past that began to be categorized as mental illness - schizophrenia, how draptamania was recategorized and given a different name.
With a side point (intergral but a little parallel) about how veterans of bullshit horrid childhoods who want to move past and embrace their lives and true self-worth have to deprogram themselves, accept that what was modeled wasn't healthy, so they don't internalize it and stay frozen all their lives (emotionally, mentally) or worse, become an abuser/oppressor.
But like I said, incomplete. Possibly because it all infuriates me so damn much.
*Footnote: The advertising industry hires experts on child psychology to streamline the best models of behavior to put into their products to get children nagging, bugging, throwing tantrums and demanding products. It's behavior they're actively cultivating - the modeling presented in their work. Not just for children, though for me that's the most atrocious, but attacking insecurities to get people to 'buy more stuff' / the shift from promoting the product, to selling a lifestyle, selling fear, selling a sense of not being good enough without their products or the stamp of approval of their brand.
Thursday, May 31, 2012
When I first came to the USA, I hated Black Americans. I didn't realize I hated them, but I did. Mostly because I didn't know what the fuck was going on, and they seemed to. But everytime I was in a place, as time passed and I got older, to ask what was going on? I got told I needed to accept I was black.
And I didn't. I couldn't.
The way it was phrased didn't come across to me as anything different than what White Americans had told me the moment I showed up; lose the accent, lose the references, stop being so strange, watch our shows, talk our talk, give up who you are.
I wasn't Black - I was Caribbean. I was Trini. I was Bajan one generation removed and naturalized.
And Black Americans kept telling me - No. You're Black.
And I kept saying, though not in these exact words. Fuck you. I will not give up who I am. I will not give up what I am.
I've mentioned before in other places, how much it cost me, how much it still hurts to have given up so much to accept being Black. Because you see, I had to. I was clueless for too damn long and it was hurting me. I couldn't see the fists punching me, couldn't understand why, it all seemed nonsensical, because I couldn't see the pattern. And I couldn't see the pattern, because the pattern started, with me being Black.
My father told me a while back, that coming to the USA meant that when he awaked in the morning, he's no longer a man. He's a Black man. And he had to come to accept that. Embrace it. Live with it. Deal with it.
There's a lot of layers; just the tip involving model minority issues, colorism, immigration issues some Black Americans don't think they need to pay attention to because it doesn't affect them and more, bound up in my family's confusion in dealing with being Black and relating to people who identified as Black.
There's a lot of cultural issues. Again something my father has mentioned and I too discovered on my own. Coming from a culture where the one who keeps their temper and is the most reasonable is King, to a culture where the one who's most aggressive, is seemingly most powerful, is King; Our politeness looks like weakness. Someone else's aggression looks like a lack of self-control.
I think there's a lot of confusion too. Maybe not as an adult. I don't know. I'm speaking from my memories as a child. From being told about Black American Culture, and Pan-Africanness and not at all getting it. Because I was lucky enough to grow up in an atmosphere where I took certain foods, clothing, music & rhythms, ways of talking and relating for granted.
Then came a time, a couple of years ago, maybe a decade or so ago? When I started listening. Don't know how or why it happened. Maybe it was that a Black Female Voice, a strong voice, sounded familiar. Or maybe it was because those voices were talking about something that wasn't about difference; but something I could identify with; something I had begun to experience and consciously recognize.
They were talking about being black and female and looked down upon. About expectations, and being touched without permission, and the random hair fondling - sweet heaven's mercy the random hair and skin fondling. But they were also talking about the atrocities of slavery and how that echoed through the generations.
I'd just begun to make sense of my own uncomfortable feelings about having my personal boundaries transgressed, not just by family members/dysfunctional dynamics surrounded extended family etc... I also knew the history they mentioned.
I knew about it. I'd grown up learning that history. It was my history. But it was also theirs. And it was no longer abstract, because they weren't talking about it, the way I'd heard it in USian schools - at a remove. They were talking about it, the way I'd heard it growing up; real and painful and gritty and blood ties.
So, I started listening. And listening. And listening.
And it made me feel a little better, not just to realize I'd given up (or felt like it) who I was to accept the label black for a reason even if I hadn't been able to articulate it. But that I didn't have to give up anything at all. That there was a term - multi-racial. That there were people aware of what it meant to be multi-racial and the child of multi-racial parents, and to live in a state of culture fusion.
That there were people who while stressing that here and now, in this place and culture I found myself living in, I needed to understand I was Black - these people weren't phrasing it to me as something I had to choose and something I had to give up. And I was old enough by then to understand it for myself and not just take an adults word that that is what they wanted.
But I was listening. And these voices talked and dealt with pain and anger. And hearing it, it helped me identify mine. Because I listened. Because I respected them because previously I had been listening. And I wondered 'Why are they so angry? Why are they so hurt?' And then I realized, I was hurt and angry too. I just hadn't put a name to it, confronted it, lived in it. It'd been pushed to the back of my mind. But here these women were, doing more than surviving, doing more than living behind a scab, numb and unknowing.
The thing about being angry though? About acknowledging hurt and wrongs? It's a point wherein you don't forget anymore. You don't ignore. You notice things. You notice a lot of things, and you start to interpret what you see, without that buffer in the way to divert things to a 'safer place'.
In hindsight, it makes sense that as I grew stronger and recovered from an abusive childhood, I'd incorporate what I was learning into my every-day life. I'd begin to recognize there were abusers I'd been giving a pass to. People and institutions hurting me, that I hadn't wanted to admit were doing what they were doing.
I don't know if the voices that guided me were going through similar with professional help, or if they, perhaps like both our foremothers had to figure it out for themselves, bit by painful bit and imprint the picture on their minds so they wouldn't forget.
Aside: There's a point here I'm not sure how to make succinctly let, about learning in fits and starts about Black American Culture, Being Black In Northern America. That it is a culture, with a history and dynamics of it's own. That it's not all at all about loss and lack and the past. It's a living, growing culture, constantly under attack and being co-opted. But my understanding about that, came about as I began to understand better the concept of cultural imperialism and dominance, and what older relatives had been fighting against. That fighting imperialism and loss of something they'd held on to through the generations, became associated with pushing against ALL USians. All North Americans.
When Black American Culture gets co-opted and pushed as 'just plain ole modern Americana', if you don't know the history? You, or at least I, didn't see a difference. Someone promoting their culture in a certain way, seemed like someone promoting their culture over mine or, unfortunately, not having any culture to lose and try to hold onto in the first place.
It's been hitting me hard, that even now, there's this 'tower of babel' affect going on, actively being promoted, that keeps or at least can keep, various African Descended Peoples from talking to and with one another. It goes on in intra PoC ethnicities as well, because the medium, the messenger is tainted - it's oftentimes being controlled by other than any of us.
Dub & Rap I both started hearing, noticing at around the same time in the 80's. I'm not someone to know which came first, or discuss the difference in rhythms, beat and cadence. I do know that the moment dub became associated with 'American Rap' - it didn't matter to the adults in my immediate surroundings that it was homegrown. It became associated with things - with violent things. And these days I find myself wondering a lot at approach and perception - because if what was being discussed in rap, had been sung in Calypso - I don't think many in my personal extended family would so much have blinked; respect your mothers and the women in your life? Embrace creativity? Remember the past? Hold your head up high? Fight the powers that bind you? Money's important but shouldn't be too important? Sometimes you just want to shake it loose and dance? Y'know, Old School Original Rap?
But that association, with a power that was changing a culture, that consistently seemed to say 'you're good and quaint for a vacation, but really, why are you so backwards'?
Now I understand it as same shit, only slightly different 'flavour' as 'But Black Americans ain't ever done nothing, created nothing, had nothing...etc...' Or as I like to call it ' Ragtime, Jazz & Honky Tonk just sprang out out of thin ass air, cause America is just like that - bullshit'.
TL;DR? I personally took the time to listen, and found a community filled with people I could talk to, with and about certain things. But it's the listening that's the hardest part. In my case it was unfortunately having enough experience to identify with what I'd heard, but until I could recognize the experiences were the same or similar? I just had to trust someone else's lived experience. I had to trust there was a reason for the anger and be in a place to recognize that anger is a damn healthy reaction in the first place. And a healthy reaction doesn't hurt anyone who acknowledges it for what it is.
Monday, May 14, 2012
Thoughts come at me from all over. In this case, watching a video about the Mass Effect 3 ending a few weeks ago, I heard someone break down the meaning of informed choice / informed decision, for why the endings are horrible; namely that without knowing the full consequences of your actions, without being able to interrogate for more information, any choice you make is no real choice because you cannot internally follow a line of logic to a reasonable conclusion. They brought up the Socratic process, reasoning, logic and several other things.
For me, something I had always taken for granted, as understood, was laid out into words and via an analogy and it became the difference between instinct and logic; the difference between arriving at the answer at the math problem without being able to show the work, and having three sheets of proofs.
[Mass Effect 3 Ending: Tasteful, Understated Nerdrage (SPOILERS) - 4:11 - 4:40]...
"Back in the day in Ancient Greece, Socrates would sometimes wake up in the morning, put on his best philosophising robe, go down to his academy, stroke his beard thoughtfully and then ask one of his students a question that began with; Suppose _______. He would outline a hypothetical situation and challenge his students to use their creativity and reason to determine the proper thing to do. This is called a Socratic Exercise."
Mass Effect 3 Ending: Tasteful, Understated Nerdrage (SPOILERS) - 11:50 - 12:20 ]...
"Details used to matter in Mass Effect. But in the ending they're ignored. How can I make this choice, if I don't know what the possible consequences of it are. Where's the agency in making a choice if I don't understand what it is that I'm doing. That's not a choice at all, it's just something that superficially resembles one.
This is not a socratic exercise anymore, because I can't approach it with logic and reason. I can only approach it with flimsy conjecture or by trying to second guess the intentions of the writer."
I grew up calling Socractic Exercises - 'Mom's Homework', 'Grandpa's Story Time', & 'Daddy's Being Difficult'. I've been doing them, since I was about three. Reasoning on this level is instinctive to me and it had never quite occurred to me that others couldn't follow said reasoning and didn't utilize it for everything.
Thus why the video made an impact for me, in terms of the phrase 'Informed Consent'. Informed Consent is about making an aware choice, making a rationed decision. And I've heard about it for decades specifically in regards to sexuality, and a woman's autonomy. And it seemed a cultural thing that it had to be reminded about, in those cases in particular.
If judgement is impaired then you can't make good choices, that seemed obvious to me; especially considering the fact that judgement being impaired by sleepiness, can result in not turning on the bathroom light for a middle of the night pee, and falling into the toilet bowl if there are certain people in the house. You're not making the best decisions - able to partake in the best decision making process when you're half asleep.
Sleepiness, sleep deprivation impairs judgement; logical. Chemicals in the system also impairs judgement. And thus hormones in the system also impairs judgement and emotional states are often associated with surges of hormones and thus emotional states are also a place of possibly impaired judgement.
Except, not so simple. Not so simple at all and I kept running nose first into how not simple it was and being horribly confused by the lack of thinking.
And I just saw it again. Not just a lack of respect for what Informed Consent and an Informed Decision means, but a kind of Assumed Consent, that's been scaring me for ages now.
What prompted me to write this post - the final straw; a tumblr response by Blogitty-Blog-Blog" regarding a post where there's an image of a young boy, claiming when he was 14, he got his young girlfriend pregnant and 'she killed my son'.
“Why must the fetus pay the price of the parents mistakes?”...It’s not just the males fault, but also the female. She lost her right to her body when she let him inside her, so anything she says about how it is her body is utter b.s...I am completely against what they did as it was stupid in every sense of the word. This is why we have an age of consent... But that’s yet again another human being who has had the right to life stolen from them because some uptight women feel that their body is more precious than that of a baby. Nice move there. It shows real respect for other people, great empathy skills."
Aside from the fact that I find Blogitty showing absolutely no empathy of their own right now, even as they call out what they claim to be the sociopathy of people who believe women have a right to determine what happens to their own bodies - there are other things as, or possibly more and relatedly disturbing.
"She lost her right to her body when she let him inside her, so anything she says about how it is her body is utter b.s..."
"...because some uptight women feel that their body is more precious than that of a baby."
I've been having some thoughts for a while now, about sexuality portrayals in main stream media (particularly USian), with some focus on porn. And it's all swirling together around the concepts of informed decision making, personal autonomy and how so much porn, erotica, sexual portrayals in varied media, is saturated in a Culture of Assumed Consent To Objectifaction which, if it isn't the same thing AS Rape Culture is pretty damn close to it.
There seems to be this definition of sexual activity as kyriarchal status choice that doesn't get the spotlight in places where not only can I see it and involve myself in it, but where young women (and young men) can become involved as well. When I do see it, it's usually flying over the heads of huge swathes of the population; namely the white population, as WoC on Tumblr discuss it as it (assumed consent to objectification + assumed consent to sexual objectification)relates to repercussions to Women of Colour, due to centuries of institutional white prejudicial racist baggage on their bodies and in particular the repercussions to WoC in traditional subservient service jobs.
I see conversations on the intersection, but not broader conversations about the origins, power and control of this Assumed Consent Culture and how to attack and dismantle it; possibly because too many white individuals are busy trying to justify their personal emotions on a thing - and thus miss the point of how and why it and all intersections should be feminist issues but currently aren't.
'She lost her right to her body when she let him inside her, so anything she says about how it is her body is utter b.s...' - Combine that thinking with purity balls. Combine that thinking with abstinence only sexual awareness programs. Combine that, with porn that has increasingly shifted to a near sociopathic level of objectification; where recievers of the phallus are automatons with holes to be brutalized, disrecpected and subjected to all manners of uncleanness and pain.
Here I admit I haven't seen much male on male / gay porn, to note if the language of the scenes; the subtext is the the same as what I've observed just being alive right now, and dealing with heterosexual based porn (in advertising to actual erotica). But I'm going to keep trying to keep my language inclusive.
This stuff scares me. The unchecked, non-perceptive, privilege assumed domination going on regarding sexuality, scares me. That the first time someone has penetrative (any form of it) sex, if there's not a ring/marriage license, some form of possessive framework in play then that body no longer has any autonomy... and if that person is not white, they never had it and will never have it.
Further, if that person has sexual aspects outside the mainstream then they're ASSUMED to have consented as well, to sociopathic objectification.
Thus consequently, individuals who are not white, who have sexual aspects outside the mainstream, in such an environment, not only aren't counted as people, but are often assumed to have consented to everything and anything with anyone and attempts to affirm that they maintain personal autonomy is often met with violence, brutality and rage.
But let me back up. A culture of Assumption of Consent / Assumed Consent (a little rape culture, a larger layer of kyriarchy...) - what is it that it is assumed an individual is consenting to? What stereotypes are playing into that? What isn't being thought about, because it's been the brick layer foundation of interaction for so long and people are loathe to change it?
'She lost her right to her body when she let him inside her, so anything she says about how it is her body is utter b.s...'
So the girlfriend of a 14yr old boy, thought she was giving informed consent to him, and only him. Whether or not she was capable of giving said consent in the first place - let's put that on pause for now. It is apparently assumed that she KNEW, and understood, fully, that she lived in a society that deemed her first penetrative sexual experience as a fully aware declension into non-citizen, non-human status? That she CHOSE this new status?
And even the fact that she got pregnant, thus to my mind proving she had not at all been prepared for the consequences of having piv sex, and thus wasn't truly able to make an informed decision - she's still held to have lost ALL RIGHTS to her own body?
Ignorance of the law does not excuse crossing it?
Uhm, doesn't that attempt to criminalize sex? Oh wait. Forcing pregnant women to have children they don't want has been seen as 'fit and proper punishment' for the longest time already, hasn't it. And cross dressing and homosexuality actually has been criminalized in the past and is still on the books in some places, or was as recently as ten to twenty years ago.
Thing is? If people had actually consented to dehumanization, objectification, violence, brutality and pain? Then yes, they could be considered deviant. And then it would make sense, perhaps, to have debates and dialogues about if there was anyway that could ever be experienced in any kind of safe space / why would anyone want to experience, etc...etc... I'm not versed in BDSM culture except the barest of basics; I apologise if my phrasing is offensive. Email and let me know.
But just living your life? Just being non-white? Just being someone who has received penetrative sex outside of sanctioned marriage or a long term relationship or whatever that arbitrary goalpost is? That's not choosing deviance. Nor is it somehow accepting the truth of some blatant obvious signpost of natural/inherited wtf ever deviance. That's NOT an informed decision to CHOOSE a lesser status than human*.
Hmm, maybe next time I'll get around to posting what disturbs me about the kyriarchal dominance games in an assumption one has chosen to be a dehumanized, sexualized object and how I relate it to the term 'kyriarchal status'.
* BDSMers aren't choosing to be thought of, seen as, or actually be sub human or less than human either. May need to work on that phrasing.
OT PS: As much as there's a thriving community of conversations on Tumblr that interests me and I have looked into missing e quite recently; I'm upset at notes that images etc, can be removed by Tumblr staff - lack of autonomy of one's tumblr space. That, plus their lack of following through non racistly on abuses towards Bloggers of Colour - has me disinclined to join the medium.
Wednesday, April 4, 2012
It popped into my head, in the middle of cooking today, why it is I can't watch the USian version of 'Shall We Dance'; I found words to express it. I'm not sure if I've ever properly expressed it before, on this particular movie, or many movies remade for a USian audience. Though, perhaps I've touched on it in some context if I've ever mentioned how I'm a sub vs dub girl on here.
The USian version of 'Shall We Dance', cannot and does not and will not ever work; Because there's cultural context missing. A Japanese salary man, is a distinct and specific thing, but more-over, a story about that specific and distinct type of character, within a culture that does NOT stress individualism, finding a way to express himself as an individual, and that turning out to be healthy for him and beneficial to his family life, his work life, his quality of living, is a COMPLETELY different story, than a middle class white USian, who's going through some kind of midlife crisis / wanting some un-describable 'more'.
Individualism is stressed in US society. The individual over not just society, but small community, even family; individual happiness is a huge expectation of USian society. The better parallel if one was going to do such a remake, would have been for a blue collar, not white collar worker; for a working class USian man, who'd always put responsibilities and duties first, finding out that some part of him needed more, finding it in the most unexpected way and discovering that doing so healed him from the fracturing stress of having aways put others and circumstances first for the greater good. There's even a greater parallel in the concept of working hard all day, getting drunk every once in a while as the expected and perhaps only form of any relief and reaching a point where it stops working.
But my thought isn't really about the best way to transfer one culture's story to another; that's just the outer ring of it. My thought is the fact that it's never considered to be a culture transfer. The whole 'dressing' aspect of it, where somehow everything and everyone is just USian culture (and often a specific type of USian culture), with a little extra decor/food choices/family quirks and traditions thrown in.
Perhaps horror fans have mentioned this in context of USian remakes of Japanese Horror Films. Not being a fan of horror, and not watching said films, I couldn't say. But what scares a specific group of individuals, what myths and legends are circulated in a culture are not 'universal'. People have differences; they think differently, eat differently, raise their families differently, fear differently, and more.
Stories are instructions, inspirations a culture tells itself; stories are a mirror held up by a culture about itself. Thus a theme might be applicable to be universal; growing up, falling in love, being dutiful, feeling frustrated, having a child - but a STORY, can't be.
Yes, I'm saying it, a story cannot be universal. It belongs to the culture and traditions, background and surroundings of the teller; of its author. And if there are similar things in it, to something else, that someone else can relate to without needing too many pauses to translate, or without needing to only focus on the broader theme - then that's great for that individual.
Unfortunately, USian Imperial Cultural Hemogeny likes to present the false argument, that because it has infiltrated so many places, and affected so many peoples, that all places and all peoples are merely waiting to adopt USian cultural practices (or similar) and thus, as much as these USian tales are exported and labeled 'universal'; not having universal themes, but labeled as being UNIVERSAL STORIES, it becomes acceptable within this Imperialism to take stories that belong to other places, other peoples, other legends, other voices and spin and push, fold and shove, mutilate them to fit.
And I don't think too many people talk about what is destroyed; the beauty and the message that is destroyed when that is done.
The salaryman, as I understand snippets of Japanese culture; finding a way to take time for himself, finding a balance, is a much more beautiful story to me, than a USian middle class white guy, overcoming ennui. And that's only one layer of the story in the first place; I think I'd need a separate post to marshal my thoughts on the nuances that are lost when individuals within the Imperialist Cultural Hegemony believe ALL STORIES ARE AND SHOULD BE UNIVERSAL.
They're not. They're really, really, really, really, not.
But a quick side note about nuance? An anime note? When the anime story requires the viewer to pay attention to the actions of a character to determine whether or not that character is a good guy or a bad guy; having a USian voice actor come along and play it with a dark raspy voice of foreshadowing, loses a lot. Worse, however, is when the Japanese version of a character has a deep voice and a certain slang accent that would represent a certain type of rough but honourable hero, and the USian dub actor is utter midwest, middle of the road Northern Americana or USian American. It says something right there about who gets to be a hero and what type of heroes and heroic cues and attributes are acceptable. The story isn't universal, even if the theme is; this story, in this instance has these types of heroes - explore that, don't USian white wash them.
As an extra note as well? Don't ciswash them, heteronormative wash them, male wash them, etc... either.
Friday, March 9, 2012
Black teen shot and killed in mostly white gated community he lived in while going to a convenience store to get snacks by a Neighborhood Watch official who said he looked suspicious
Via Global Grind: “17-year-old Trayvon Martin was shot and killed by a Neighborhood Watch captain inside his own gated Orlando, Florida community where he was living with his father, stepmother and little brother, according to the family’s lawyer. Martin was shot after returning home from a local convenience store, where he bought snacks including Skittles candy requested by his 13-year-old brother, Chad.
According to the family’s lawyer Ben Crump, the family is calling for the Watch captain’s arrest, saying Martin was “on his way home and a Neighborhood Watch loose cannon shot and killed him”…”.* Was the teen singled out and shot because he was black in a white neighborhood? Ana Kasparian and Cenk Uygur discuss
if how race was involved on The Young Turks.
[strike out & italics are mine]
I can't even. I need to avoid everything so I have a good birthday, cause the pain in my heart.... In general. As someone who has a teenage black male in her life. I JUST had this conversation with my brother. JUST this week. About how CAREFUL he needs to be - though I was focused on cops.
Hah. Focused on cops. I WAS IGNORANT. I was naive and wishful.
Imagine telling a child to be careful while walking while male and black. That's MY Life. That's HIS LIFE. The consequences of that? That's this family's life now.
And sadly, in a way, this is news, but not news. The news, is the killer hasn't even been taken into custody. That's the news. The USA
going backwards in time IS STILL BACKWARDS IN TIME, a place where black families have to curl up in their pain and mourning, 'across the street' from the killers of family members who're going about their daily business.
Thursday, March 8, 2012
TUMBLR is supporting Racism, Racist Language, Death Threats, Rape Threats, & Harrassment. They are doing so, by telling PoC, in particularly, PoC Women, that maybe they just shouldn't have caught 'Massa's Eye'. That maybe they just should have covered up more. That 'these good white people' have filed a complaint against them and now, THESE COMPLAINTS, by THESE GOOD WHITE PEOPLE, MUST be responded to, and the victims of vicious, callous, racist acts and harassment, need to STOP DEFENDING THEMSELVES.
People are speaking up about it and doing so here and here and here.
I keep a track of certain tumblrs, even though the system irritates me, and I could not grok it enough to start one myself; because it's filled with Conversations I Want To Track. There are conversations about white washing, white privilege, white f*menism's denial of WoC's humanity and more. And these conversations have drawn ire from many, many, many white people. Ire and abuse for which I've never seen a post saying 'Tumblr Support is on it' or 'Tumblr Support is investigating that'.
The conversations on Tumblr happen Daily. Daily! I can still remember what it was like to go through shit at that level of intensity for a good portion of the year back in 2009. And this is DAILY. Multiple conversations. And thus multiple attacks.
And TUMBLR SUPPORT does NOTHING. NOTHING, but come up to 'rescue' white people who complain about THEIR FEE FEES, even while they're telling other people to go kill themselves, hang themselves and the like.
I think TUMBLR; their support staff, their developers, their whole company needs to understand the racism they're perpetuating and supporting. Once upon a time in the Americas, a black person couldn't look at a white person 'wrong'. For THEIR standards of wrong. It could lead to brutality and death. It was a terrorist state. And now TUMBLR is perpetuating that. White people can call you ANYTHING. Harass you ANYHOW. But if you RAISE your voice against them, if you cuss at them, if you defend yourself, then YOU, are the bad guy and we will shut you down. Cause such is our power.
If anyone still reads me, and keeps wondering what they might do, what small action they might take towards making the world a better place? See if you can CONTACT TUMBLR SUPPORT; and/or CONTACT TUMBLR POLICY; contact them and let them know you disapprove of their actions.
Or maybe the path to take is via their investors:
Spark Capital, Union Square Ventures, Sequoia Capital, Greylock Partners, Insight Venture Partners, The Chernin Group and Richard Branson, Betaworks, John Borthwick, Fred Seibert, Albert Wenger, Martín Varsavsky.
Maybe you'd like to ask these groups and peoples why they're supporting racism and racist harassment of Poc and racist and sexual harassment of WoC.
Or at the very least, spread the word, light another signal fire, past the Public Service Announcement about what TUMBLR's doing, about who and what TUMBLR IS!
Friday, February 24, 2012
Maybe it doesn't seem this way to others, but I can't help but think multiple things when I hear the words 'Trans Ethnic' (I will get into Trans Abled / Trans Disabled in a moment).
The 1st thing to hit me, is how mocking this is to transgendered individuals, that their situation is seen as so damn 'science fiction', somehow, that something as mocking as 'Trans Ethnic' can be set up as part of any kind of conversation. 'So, you think you're not the gender you physically appear to be / were assigned at birth? Ha! I top you. I don't think I'm the ethnicity 'assigned' to me at birth/ that I appear as. And none of this having a damn thing to do with the modification of birth certificates so that NDN people could pass as non-native for a chance at a better life. None of this gets into black who passed as white, to try and live a better, safer life within a white supremacist state. None of this gets into trans racial/cultural adoptees and their personal conflicts of identity and how they feel vs how they're treated.
It's just identity piracy.
The second thing that hits me about 'Trans Ethnic', is the purer cultural appropriation. How the more it's stressed, someone had to come up with something that they think is unassailable. "I can't be called an appropriating ass now, cause no one knows how I really FEEL, so if I FEEL___ insert non white identity here ___ then I can claim it, and act it, and use it and la de la la'.
Cultural appropriation seems to exist, because in order to be white and in order to be USian, various peoples several decades ago decided to put aside their cultural and ethnic heritage in order to fit in. The less you showed some distinct aspect of your identity the more it supposedly meant you were leaving it behind to embrace your new Usian life.
So goodbye, traditions, language, clothing, manners, foods, songs and stories. And now here we are, a couple generations later, with a set of people who want something to belong to, but even in this day and age of Ancestry.com (for white folk) they're not going back to research what they gave up. And I don't know if it's because the attitudes to give it up and leave it behind are still strong, if sub and unconscious. They're instead reaching towards those peoples who've fought and struggled and suffered to hold on to anything at all. And reaching towards peoples whose suffering and oppression has formed a new culture and new identity within this 'new land'. So I suppose it's not surprising so many people want to be Native American - because how much more 'belonging' to this new land could one be? Or that they want to be 'Black' which is an identity that was created on these shores (well these and other places of colonialist import of slaves).
But history and struggle, accomplishment and identity, folklore, stories and song, foods, clothing and culture are not something you can buy in a store.
It's odd, that sometimes I feel like I'm the only one who remembers the backlash by people in Ireland and Scotland; especially people of Celtic Heritage, screaming at Usians to get their grubby hands off the Celtic Harps and Celtic Knots and Gaelic language.
There was this sweep of; I'm totally Celtic! I was Celtic in a past life! I've totally got Celtic roots. And there was appropriation. There was entitlement. It wasn't - "I'm interested in Celtic History / Celtic Heritage / Irish History / Irish Heritage" and the like. It was 'I ALREADY AM and thus I will use all this stuff and don't tell me I'm doing it improperly'.
I can remember seeing Gaelic tourists watching USians in a store, oohing and ahhing over how authentic some music cd was, and I was pretty damn sure those words the tourists were saying could be translated into 'Damn Wannabes'. I remember feeling hesitant too, because I really liked harp music and certain tonalities, but I definitely didn't want to be viewed as a 'grabby/grubby hands'. So it was something that made me think to try and figure out the difference.
And thus the concept of respect and to whom a culture belongs (because it has been handed down, because it had been lived, because it marks them in some way) started forming itself in my brain. So it's now to the point it's difficult for me to remember that, well, the same people who didn't think about their appropriation then, damn well aren't the type to think about it now, or to have taught their children to think about it.
I get that it's sad to feel formless, and directionless and to recognize that something is missing, something has been lost. But the solution to that will never be to grab someone else's. If someone laughs at you because they think the sandwich you're eating is funny. The solution will never be, to throw your sandwich away, get hungrier and grab someone else's sandwich and tell them THEY HAVE TO SHARE OR THEY ARE SELFISH.
All that is, is asking for disdain, showing massive disrespect, a whole lot of entitlement, bad manners and frankly, the need for a serious ass beat down.
It is not the responsibility of others to compensate you because your ancestors tossed away their heritage for what they thought was a better cause. And if you have no clue at all what your heritage is? You don't get to go SHOPPING. You also don't get to belabour the point now, when there are millions of African Diaspora due to the slave trade who will never know their tribal origins. Your ability, as a white person, to track that down will always have smoother paths than a peoples who were sold away and sold away and moved around like cattle w/ no names, no personally identifying information.
At the beginning of this, I mentioned 'science fiction'; that their situation is seen as so damn 'science fiction', somehow, that something as mocking as 'Trans Ethnic' can be set up as part of any kind of conversation.". The first time I heard about 'inner aspects' or 'not being what I appear' in a transformative setting or conversation, that wasn't about transgender identity? Had to do with people discussing their inner self as a wolf, a bear, a rain elf or a dragon. And I admit, at first I thought it was kind of cute. I thought it / saw it, as a short-hand for philosophy, perhaps a certain kind of self made spirituality - as in living one's life as... In which case an inner wolf would symbolize someone who felt comfortable in close knit settings and put a value on loyalty, cohesion, community and possibly social hiearchy if they really got into it / had thought about it.
But the more I looked it up, the more I discovered I was both right, and very, very, wrong. Very, very, very, very wrong. Perhaps I stumbled into some extremist circles, the fringe of it. But whoa. Looking at the terms 'Trans Ethnic', however, makes me feel as if minority/non dominant/colonized culture and societies are somehow as mythical and unreal as fairies, dragons, and spiritual wolves and bears - because ANYONE can decide that's who and what they are and decide to pick it up and somehow 'live by it'. And while you cannot disrespect fairies and dragons, and disrespecting wolves or bears gets you murdered and dead - disrespecting non dominant ethnicities happens, is real, is hurtful and painful and dehumanizing and devaluing.
If your inner self is a water dragon, well, whatever. That's your thing. If your inner self is black? Fuck you. There have always been assholes (particularly teenagers), dressing in certain clothes, copying certain slang, listening to certain music and claiming they were down with __insert ethnic minority here__. New age dressing it up as 'Trans Ethnicism' doesn't change the asshole badge.
I said I'd talk about Trans Ablism / Trans Disablism, and I will. Disability has a culture, it has many in fact. Deaf culture, isn't blind culture, isn't the myriad wheelchair cultures, isn't invisible disability culture, isn't chronic illness culture, isn't ... the list goes on. Those cultures too? Came out of struggle and strife, dedication, hard work and more. They were created to sustain the myriad peoples who're involved in them. They have their dark ass times, their deprivations and horrors, their triumphs, their moments of weeping for joy and of pain. There are institutions, schools, lock aways, slurs, words, language, music, dance, art, etc, and yes they were all created - some of them only a couple hundred years old. But they? Are REAL. You don't get to go shopping for them either.
Cause this shopping people are doing, has nothing to do with learning the history of anything, it's just another type of entitlement. It's grubby grabby hands. It's trying to fill some lack and hole with someone else's inheritance. It's grabbing someone else's sandwich cause they dealt with the jeers and kept their food, and you threw yours aside.
Now, I know there are people who believe they're double amputees etc, even up to the point of wanting surgery to remove a physically healthy limb because having that limb distresses them. I doubt those are the people coming up with the idea of 'Transabled / Transdisabled'. Because when I've read on them, or seen them, they talk about being, blind, or wheelchair mobile, etc....
And frankly, if someone is willing to deal with the bullshit of living in an ablist world, with all the inconveniences, then that to me is completely different than claiming something and being able to cast it off again when it troubles or frustrates you or stops being fun.
Personally, I've always thought of those people as cyborgs**. Mostly because when you, or at least when I read a futuristic SF book, there never seems to be any blinking at someone having a bionic arm or bionic leg. Unless some prior injury is specifically mentioned, it's treated as - these individuals wanted those specific limbs and don't feel they've lost anything. So to me, that mentality has to come from somewhere, and while true, not everyone's going to be a cyborg voluntarily; And cyborgism might be just an offshoot from disability - just because two paths merge, doesn't mean they weren't once two separate paths.
But I do admit? I don't have a physical disability wherein I would look at someone who says they feel like me, and go 'WTF'. Many people at some point later in life will use a cane. So I'm not claiming to talk for community at all. I have no idea how those individuals are looked at by various facets in the myriad disabled/differently abled communities. I just know the medical establishment seems to want to call the people I call cyborgs (in waiting), mentally ill; Which kind of already puts them in a disability community - even if it's just how other people may view them.
In the whole group of appropriation though? It's not possible to wake up Black, or Asian or NDN or Latino, to wake up Spanish or Caribbean or Jewish or Rom or South Asian or West Asian. You could, however, conceivably wake up one morning after surgery and be missing a limb.
But considering I've also seen the term Trans Fat thrown around (and not in regard to oils) I'm not thinking the majority of individuals using these terms are planning major body modification.
What I am thinking, is that instead of drugs or booze or sex or food, or anything else to use to make their lives feel less empty, or less dull or just less - they're 'Shopping For An Oppression'. They want to feel something. They want to feel something so badly, they're willing to fight and cuss and scream and cry about being 'disrespected' while they pirate someone else's experience and make a shitty, shitty copy.
And the saddest and angriest thing to me? Is that appreciation could become allyship. They could be working towards Size Acceptance. They could be learning more about institutional racism and the history of the people they claim to feel some kinship towards, they could be learning about dehumanization, the struggle for basic civil rights, and what they can do to help. But, they're not. They're shopping for accessories; it's that mentality once again of thinking non-white peoples, non dominant and colonized societies are somehow mere dressing on a white potato.
Transgendred individuals do not go SHOPPING for a gender. I am pretty damn certain of that. I'm pretty damn certain transwomen are very, VERY aware of the history of institutionalized sexism, of rape culture, of slurs, of disrespect, of expectations of what feminity is, of lots of stuff women deal with - because they aren't shopping, they aren't picking and choosing. They ARE women. They bloody well get everything. Transmen? They bloody well get everything too
To be, or not to be.
Deal with not being, white people; currently able bodied people, thin people and the like. Deal with it. Stop thinking you get everything, because you're part of the majority and you feel lonely, or lost, or lacking. It's fucking amazing and insulting that you run everything, rule everything, are represented damn near everywhere, but suddenly OTHER PEOPLE are so much more interesting so you want a piece of them too? "Oh s/he's ___ but s/he's got such a great personality!' And now you want to TAKE IT?
You don't want to see them, or talk to them , learn from them, listen to them, promote them or respect them. You just want a piece to feel better? To feel special? Because your own damn dominance is making it impossible for you to feel special?
The hubris. Seriously. The fucking hubris.
Claiming transethnicism to me, shows me who is an egotistical maw worm; someone who will just keep taking and taking and taking and nothing will ever satisfy them; because trying to consume someone else's identity, is like eating sky pie. It's not attuned to you, it's not within your dimension. Unfortunately you don't look pathetic, you look like what you are, a self involved, privileged asshole who needs a good smack in the mouth.
An aside: Being a transgendered individual is different to being a drag actor/performer. And drag is a culture too (culture within a culture) with its own oppression and triumphs and histories.
Note: I am sure I have left out other identities that cannot be picked up like a pen on the floor - it was not meant as a slight.
ETA: *Clarified the more for transmen as being 'the masculine side of things'. Clarifying here further; transgendered individuals deal with awareness of gender essentialism, expectations on gender presentation, masculinity, femininity, what are 'appropriate' actions via society's lenses, the history of what does, could and has happened to people like them, and further things I can't quite think of in the moment but that cannot be avoided or ignored.
ETA: For transcultural adoptees w/ transracial.
ETA: ** Sat 25th Feb. A friend pointed me towards: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Body_integrity_identity_disorder and a short conversation later, I realized I'd focused on artificial limbs, and not the aspects of complete self/true self/physical parts owned by self.
So, my original concept is more clueless than I thought, and possibly offensive. In which case I apologise, because eeewh, offensiveness is not desirable, hurting people is never a thing I want to do, especially about sensitive areas of self .
(Although, yes, I still count the racist twitdiddles as not deserving of ME worrying about THEIR feelings. Pointing out their racism, appropriation and privilege isn't offensive, it's just painful for them to have truth in the face).
Thursday, January 26, 2012
This stuff came up via conversations with some friends, well, vents more accurately put, about G.I.Joe: Renegades. It's an animated show, that combines G.I.Joe themes, with a bit of an A-Team plot and story hook. And after laughing my head off, having caught it randomly on channel and then watching two episodes and being intrigued, I hunted down some on demand sources and started watching from the beginning. And then, then I got hit in the face with some crap; squirm inducing, wincing, upset, wanting to fast forward through, crap. And so far it hasn't really been about race - so far it's all been gender.
In case you hadn't guessed? Here be spoilers....
Scarlett, is an emotional, obsessed woman, who when put in leadership positions manages continually to bring everyone into the utmost trouble or who somehow fails in some other way. When, however, she's in a support position; supporting one of the male character's decisions etc... then, she's right, solid, and good backup. On her own? Obsessed. And so far, the few times she's been right, haven't matched up to all the times she just plain... FAILS.
So here I am, all full of wee at the MALE PoC representation on the show. But feeling kicked in the stomach over how women are shown when Scarlett, Lady Jaye and the Baroness are the models.
The Baroness is obviously the underling of Cobra Commander and is shown quite knowledgeable in knowing her place . When a 'Firm Hand' is used to get her back in line, or reprimanded, it's by Cobra Commander himself, directly by him. She is HIS personal underling. So, a position of authority that is dependent upon a man.
Lady Jaye is initially shown as the military superior of quite a few men, who take her seriously. And that had me all a-squee, until things progressed and her role became a dual supporting role to two men. She's Flint's right hand in chasing down the 'Renegades'. And she's Duke's right hand in undermining Flint as needed. Sure she's sassy and all that, but she went in the space of the first two episodes, from superior officer to helpmate. And it does not help that Flint, who's her superior on the task force, makes comments about Duke being her boyfriend. It sets a certain tone; about who she is, how he sees her; as a woman, and a teammate and what her purpose is supposed to be.
Scarlett... Scarlett is the reason the Renegades are in trouble in the first place. She's so gunho about proving herself right, proving that Cobra is evil, that she plays fast and loose with regulations, orders, and other people's careers. The first episode is Scarlett being a flaming EVE to four ADAMS. And for me, it was painful. And I'm someone who's all reverent about BATMAN, who IS a vigilante! But of course, Batman, doesn't do vigilante things while wearing a military uniform and using military authority for his own ends and he is, as a character, usually shown to be very careful about involving others in his dangerous plans.
So here's Scarlett, a woman obsessed. And things happen, and go to shit. And I can't even admire her being right, or her being unphased about the outcome of things, because her focus is so narrow it comes across as dangerous. Worse, there's this undercurrent about her leadership ALSO being for shit. When she's in charge, THINGS HIT THE FAN. Almost always. When she's supporting another, a male, character's decisions, THEN she's right. And IN THE RIGHT. But on her own? It's wild and dangerous.
The thing is, if Scarlett were Scar, the character would still be dangerous. But it'd have a lot less baggage about women's leadership abilities. Scarlett is all intuition 'I just know!' / 'Trust me!'. And everything else flies out the window. Worse, I end up feeling like the only reason she's even survived as long as she has, is because she has Snake Eyes around to watch her back and clean up her messes for her (and considering, that despite what has been said, I think gaijin could apply as much to someone biracial as purely Caucasian so that's a MoC, running around looking after 'Miss Scarlett' and getting her out of her messes. And that goads. So. damn. much).
The other 'major' female character I've seen so far, has been Kimi/Jinx, Snake Eyes' student and part of his backstory. And she gets treated by one male as a trophy to be won or stolen back to suit his needs. Yes, she's a fighter. But her emotions are played and played and played again. And it could be her youth as much as anything, but with all the rest of the writing for female characters, I end up just shaking my head. Kimi/Jinx for all her spunk, is a damsel in distress. Agency is talked about around her, but she hasn't owned her own, and from what I've read up on, whatever she ends up having in the future is given to her.
Meanwhile, out of the PoC Males, there's a laid back, rock near heavy metal listening big, broad black dude, a Chinese-American Brooklynite, (Lady Jaye also looks Asian American to me btw, mentioned here before I forget), and a nickname giving somewhat daredevil black dude. And I like their portrayals. I so really, really do. If Snake Eyes is 'Hapa' (I think that's the applicable term) then he might be less 'white ninja' and that'll soothe and all that'll irk me is his lack of knowing any kind of sign language after how many years w/o a voice. It's a little upsetting to have a white woman interpreting what he says (on top of anyone else interpreting what someone with a disability really means or really needs).
But here I am, stuck, because wow, those male characters. And then damn on the women. At one point, in what I've watched so far, Scarlett can't find success and access she wants while pretending to be a lawyer or pretending to be a federal agent (I was left to ponder her opinion of small town people). But, playing a particular type of woman? Somewhat Jerry Springeresque? In short shorts and loose blouse and bra strap showing and pregnant - there she finds some success. And I winced. I just winced. Savvy disguise? Maybe. But of the three, the one that worked? It's the one that relied on 'feelings' / hers and the people she's trying to get past, vs any other sort of preparation; It's the one that relies on her presenting as female, presenting as female in a very biological way? Wince wince wince.
Other representations of women? Well, while I'm here, I am aware of the trope of, meek male, needs his 'woman' to be in true distress and then he'll 'man up' and do what needs done, and win the girl? The episode revolving around that, was also painful, not just because of the damsel in distress theme. But because that one act, to my mind, could not dissolve or undo the destruction caused by months/years of meekness. Finding his courage, fine. But did he have to get a prize for it? And that prize be a woman? A woman who, I'd hope in a more real life circumstance would consider the fact that her being in danger in the first place, imminently and then more broadly before the crisis point, had all been due to him NOT finding that courage? The message there, was that for one singular act that may or may not stick in his character he needed to be rewarded with herself? That's a message for kids? That's sick.
And speaking of acceptable feelings, rewards, prizes and gender bias - Scarlett haring off on her own intuition? BIG ARSE DUST UP. Duke on the other hand? Going it alone? His concern getting the better of him? He turns out to be right. He turns out to end up in the right place at the right time. He and the other males of the group, also turn out to feel more than Scarlett in general, about innocents that is. She's 'big picture' focused, obsessed. They want to stop and help the little guys.
Again I'm struck by if Scarlett were Scar; the character would be just as dangerous, just as obsessed, just as driven and focused, single minded, determined and having been right about Cobra's true face. But the baggage, of them not caring about others etc, would be very, very, different. Am I shocked at a female character who doesn't want to help general innocents? Or 'nurse', for various values of nurse (and that word is used deliberately) communities back to health? Maybe. Maybe I am. I'm influenced by the world as much as anyone. But the thing I pinpoint on, is that if Scarlett hates Cobra for taking advantage of people, for working at cross purposes to peace, unity and a peaceful Usian way - then, shouldn't she hate all manipulative bullies? Or at least consider the possibility that putting these bullies away means less possible future employees for Cobra?
Then again, I haven't watched enough to have seen if there's a specific reason she has it in for Cobra - though, maybe even then I'd expect some measure of empathy.--
-- And - Oh heaven. Oh crap. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE, let Scarlett's lack of empathy not be some sort of underhanded lesson about what happens to a woman without a 'woman's natural empathies' to direct her. Please let this obsession with Cobra and all her risky behavior not be meant as a quiet understatement about what happens to women in leadership roles and all that associated bullshit. Let the writers just be clueless, privileged assholes. That's MUCH more preferable than a deliberate message to the younger generation.
And I know, know someone's going to wish they could comment to tell me that DUKE WAS ALWAYS THE LEADER. And uhm, I have watched a couple of G.I.Joe cartoons in my youth, ok? I felt a cold shiver down my spine when I heard about this century's live action movie (which I did not watch). I too thought Scarlett in the live action movieverse promos looked like nothing but cheesecake. And growing up? The bulk of the people I knew who liked G.I Joe? WERE GIRLS. G.I Joe slumber party. G.I.Joe birthday parties or just birthday cake, with Scarlett or Lady Jaye on the cover (and their action figures too). Running around the school yard playing G.I. Joe? Thinking up names and themes for themselves? Girls. I remember waiting with excitement for the G.I Joe movie (VHS) FOR that slumber party.
When the first episode of Renegades came on and I heard COBRA say "And knowing is half the battle" my heart leapt up in my chest and I thought 'OMG, that's TWISTED AWESOME!'.
So there, my itty bitty 'creds' as not a completely clueless female. WTFever. Cause 'creds' don't fucking matter, really, when it comes to what's going on in the here and now. Just like there's a generation who'll look at you one day and go 'Nick Fury was White??!!'. There's a generation now, that will know that Scarlett was introduced and often mentions the fact that she's Duke's superior officer. And yes, yes yes, she doesn't have his field experience. It's been mentioned. But field experience does not equal common sense (or rather her lack of it, or rather her complete obsession excluding all else including it).
So here I am. I want to know more about Tunnel Rat and Roadblock in this iteration. Hell Wikipedia says Nicky Lee is meant to be TRINIDADIAN CHINESE (or was). You think I don't want to be all up in that? And that it doesn't make me ponder hunting down the comic books? But how am I supposed to balance that squee, with the kick in the chest on how the female characters are treated? The same way I often end up walking away from things that have fine white female characters and PoC? WoC? Who's them? And until I know for sure about Lady Jaye, Renegades doesn't seem to HAVE, WoC, which earns serious cut eye.
I wrote out my thoughts to try and figure out things, to put my frustration down on 'paper', because it's been eating and eating away at me. And when I vent this much to people who care about me, they do tend to ask me why I'm still watching. Especially since they know I will walk away from media and people to spare myself/my life grief. This choice, however, or rather the phrasing of this choice (woman, or poc) is new. I haven't had to make this variation of the choice before / had to walk away from this variation of the choice before.
And it's really, really hard. Cause it'd be so easy, so easy to say 'Meh, Scarlett's just a stupid white woman'.
Thursday, January 19, 2012
I just happened to catch "Perchance To Dream"; an episode from Batman: The Animated Adventures, that surrounds a situation where Batman is given a chance to have 'the perfect life' via The Mad Hatter - via a dream. And I found myself thinking, after I finished watching, how much that show meant to me as a child/youngster/teenager, even if I couldn't then articulate it.
Unlike the Catholic Church that I had so far interacted with, it didn't say that I was somehow blessed due to the dysfunction in my family, or that it was a test or trial of spirit - it said simply that my pain was part of who I was. It made me me. I hadn't asked for it. I didn't necessarily want it, but it helped form me, it was a part of my foundation. Without it, I wouldn't be me, I wouldn't be who I had become and was becoming.
It said that being me was OK. Being me, was truth.
I joke a lot of the time that I belong to The Church Of Batman. And thinking about that episode, writing about it now, the joke seems less 'ha ha, tease' and more philosophical actuality. Sometimes it feels like everything I learned about surviving in life and how to be a good person, was pretty damn much directed by Batman*.
He will always be my hero for taking his pain and loss and directing it towards protection. For being an example who knew loss would define him, but chose how. Who reached out to others feeling similar pain and isolation and offered direction and guidance, or just a sense of purpose, and who created his own family. Batman didn't give up on having family, closeness, nearness, it's just in a perhaps unexpected, untraditional paradigm.
Someone showed me a page the other day; Wonder Woman shooting guns. I think they said Guns of Eros, or some such. And after I had my moment of eyerolling, I did end up wondering what story that told; story as in aesop's fable, moral folktale, ethical framework. Do people even realize that? Even though they themselves may often call the Christian Bible - The Greatest Story Ever Told?
Stories to live your life by. Stories to guide your perspective in the world; how you treat others; how you treat yourself.
The current crop of comics writers and execs and artists; are they story-tellers? Is there a story they want to continue with the characters? Something that builds on what drew them into that world?
Recently I caught up to Written World, by Ragnell and caught her
late 2011 early 2012 OMGWTF over Captain America implicitly condoning torture and was reminded of Box in The Box, oddly enough. He has a theory that the current crop of writers detest heroes; Don't believe in them and thus do not create or perpetuate them.
And now I wonder, what goes through the minds of those who joke to themselves that they belong to 'The Church of Captain America'. How do they deal with someone like Cap walking out to let others torture for information? Is it like losing one's faith in a more traditional religion? Is there a sense of emptiness and loss, and crushing betrayal and despair? Do the writers of that tale; were they ever members of that Church? Or are these actions some odd kind of Cold War, an anti-evangelism? Or are they the types who think it's worth nothing but mockery to speak of these things in terms of religion, spirituality, ethics, personal templates?
Though if they did, would they still roll their eyes at concepts like diversity, intersectionality and social justice; cause those fit the mission of a spiritual philosophy very well.
All I know is for myself, and that suddenly it makes sense why I was both so happy to rediscover comics several years ago, and why I ended up walking away. I lost them because of being in an unfamiliar land and not knowing quite how to get back into them. It was like not knowing how to get to church, realizing you had no idea the name of your faith to even ask about the building. And then I found them again many several years later and had to face what they'd become... and were still becoming.
Heh, corruption in the church, I suppose.
But it does make sense to me, why I'd walk away and hold on to my memories, and the lessons I'd originally learned and not try to fit what was being displayed into the framework that helped make me part of who I am. Maybe some people can. I can't. I may not honor Hera or Thor or Pele or Kali Ma and my fondness for Mary may be vestigial. But I realize, I do honor Diana the Wonder Woman, Batman, and on occasion Superman. Funny, how so many call them 'The Trinity' and yet....
Maybe one day someone will explain to me how and why others hold on and pay money while hoping. Or perhaps why they believe DC and Marvel and the like hold exclusive rights to interpretations; can hold their honored figures hostage.
PS: It probably also explains why, for me, my personal iconography; Superman or rather Clark Kent remains a seeming Asian American adopted by two well meaning white folk in Kansas; why Bruce Wayne was a white mask for black Batman, and why I always wonder why Diana isn't brown and Greek enough on the paper.
* For the record Dad, you've always been my Batman, or rather Batman's always been my fictional Dad. You both had 'protecting the innocent' in common.