Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Atten: B'Sphere

Dear People Who Keep Commenting Me On My Marvel + Gay People = Oh Hells No Post,

Please stop commenting. The majority of you keep wanting to discuss or point out that Guggenheim was being pro equal marriage.

I. Don't. Care

I realize I was not at my most coherent because I was just so effing angry that equal marriage and the bad storyline of A DEAL WITH A SHIV GIVING LORD OF HELL, A DEAL WITH THE DEVIL were being equated at all.

It was a shitty comparison and a shitty analogue. And yes, I still think it showed a level of callousness to have an official spokesperson make such a statement. The level of callousness equates to me that MARVEL DOESN'T CARE ABOUT GAY PEOPLE.

Homosexuality is good enough to mention in a backhanded attempt to pander to homophobic comic reading buzzballidiots and it's good enough to attempt to appeal to some mystery demographic and show your 'liberal cred'. But it's not good enough for any particular attention to be paid to having or promoting a stable character.

And if someone dares to comment/post an essay reply mentioning The Rawhide Kid, consider yourself already internet stabbed.

Guggenheim had a poor, extremely poor choice of words. Why all the surprise that someone would state outright that MARVEL DOES NOT CARE ABOUT GAY PEOPLE?


Marvel's captained and steered by middle class white guys who're living out their power fantasies even if said fantasies crush the dreams of consumers and other fans - that is people who aren't them. If you're not a middle class hetero white guy and you're still enjoying them - bully for you. But don't expect me to put up with consuming the same amount of bullshit. Garbage in equals garbage out. I stopped swallowing. I won't swallow. Read into that what you will.

The next person who comments or emails me about this, please know that while I delete your remarks without reading them - I'm imagining your private pinkish parts being caught in a cusinart.

In other news, the Special Edition PoC in SF Carnival - IBARW ISSUE. Go read it and learn something. It's good for you.

PoC in SF Carnival - IBARW Special Edition

Like last year, this year has a Special Edition Carnival devoted to recapping International Blog Against Racism Week, started by Oyceter @ Livejournal.

The issue notes a generalized percentage of 50% POC participation this year. As someone also involved in bringing awareness that there are POC and POC issues online, in geekdom and specifically SFdom, those numbers are heartening.

Oycter notes she needs better outreach to Latin@s and that her goal for next year is more input from non-Western, non-American participants to get their points of view. And it's a reminder to me that I should keep up Faces of Colour as a visual reminder that the people involved in creating and promoting Speculative Fiction come from all countries, skin colours, ethnicities and cultures.

Go and check it out. I'm sure there are things missed during the week back in August. I know I still have some tabs bookmarked to get back to and I saw a few links I'd missed entirely.

The next Carnival will be hosted in December by Delux_Vivens @ DeadBroWalking. The theme "Men of Colour in Speculative Fictions.". There's more than enough time for you to write something and submit for the carnival with a link via her livejournal address or to my email for me to forward it.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Ingredients of Silence

This is not how I intended to come back to a prior post about the power of naming. I wonder if this means there's a third post in this somewhere? But tonight I had the experience of calling out someone who used a term that's usually a racist slur. In the course of conversation I got told that:

a) The person using the slur was biracial

b) Her feelings were more important than my defending a fictional character from a possible slur

c) Her white friend uses that term to describe herself all the time. So the only racist is me, who sees the term and thinks woman of colour.

These things have all led me to think about the power of naming. Did the individual interacting with me know that I too am a woman of colour? It's possible. But somehow I doubt it. The way the card was played, and yes, I'm calling it a card quite on purpose, I could tell this was meant to silence me. She's a woman of colour therefore she has more right than I to decide what is racist and what isn't. And usually that card's only trumped on the assumption that the other person is a 'well meaning white person making things uncomfortable'.

And right then it occured to me that race is a name of power. Not calling someone by their name, is name power. Not calling them by the right name, is name power. Mocking their name, is name power (which is the third essay that'll come about at some point in time). But self labeling is also name power.

Perhaps it's my fanciful mind. But I could so clearly see her drawing a circle about herself, sticking in some zodiac signs, lighting a few candles, exhaling and then going, all Pokemon style. "I choose you! My non-White side! Go forth and battle this bitch who's getting on my last nerve with her insistence that feelings have been hurt by a mere word! SILENCE HER!"

And even as I describe that, I can so easily see another circle, with another individual drawing up power from somewhere, symbols glowing in yellow candle flame. "I choose you! My 1/16th Cherokee/Souix/Cree/Apache/Insert First Nations Tribe Here - Heritage. Go forth and SILENCE my accusers. Manifest as a Princess, oh great, great, great, great, great, great, great grand-mother and repulse those that would label me insensitive, racist, or ignorant!"

I haven't gotten any further in my thoughts that that, however. Because obviously the self-naming/self-labeling spell gets bounced off someone who also is a minority, or who perhaps is listed on their Tribe's rolls, or their parents are. Or better yet, the spell bounces off knowledge, rightenousness and history. But all too often, I'm sure, someone is silenced. Someone does get confused because they were certain they saw what they saw, but now...

And I haven't thought of a spell that'll counteract that. How do you tell the budding anti-racists they need yet more knowledge? Doesn't it seem daunting to them that they need it, not in a general way to understand more or learn more but as a shield against this kind of crap?

Is there a way to stop people pulling out their bag of tricks and glitter? Is that a better use of time and energy? And what about people who have dual or more heritages? What about people with colonial history in their past where various tribes of the oppressed intermingled? I've seen quite a few heads come near to exploding when they realized the person they were trying to silence was South Asian, Black and Chinese.

Any thoughts?

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


Someone remind to that no matter what happens in my life, I have to write a story where all black people (and south east asian folk, and first nations folk - aka everyone brown and possibly also asian) gets sucked through a dimensional vortex thus leaving the future to the white folk.

While I've had issues trying to read Elizabeth Bear, I do love the concept that in one of her worlds nanites ate up all the white people.

Why the sudden 'oh my freaking head'?

Revolution of the Mask. It's apparently done by the blogger behind Atop the 4th Wall which is a blog I've read and enjoyed. In his comic, however, in the future which seems very 1984 meets Brave New World, only with superheroes; it's a far flung future where for decades people have been living as cogs. White people.

Now maybe the superhero known as 'Mystery Man' is covered head to toe cause he's black. At which case I just laugh and laugh and laugh at the stereotype. And if you don't know what stereotype I mean - do some research. You're on the effing internet.

But far flung dystopian future - all white folk.

So again I need to write the story of People of Colour getting on space ships and moving out to live among enlightened beings in the damn stars. So I can explain why you never see us in these futures.

Actually, that ties into a novel idea I already have.

*goes to write*

ETA: Also while I'm discussing things that sadden and aggravate me. In his future where everyone belongs to everyone else. You see men having sex with women. And what looks like, possibly a man having sex in public with another man. It's hard to tell, the figures are drawn behind the point of view protaganist. But there was no sign that in this future where you're not allowed to say no - that any women might be taking sexual advantage of the men. The men aren't drawn with downcast eyes and weariness on their faces. Except for whatever's happening on page three, panel 2. Cause what? The only unwanted sexual advance for men is from another male?

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Quick Note On Acknowledgement

This needed to be more than just a twitter comment to JSmooth of Ill Doctrine. Smooth's a good guy. He got me interested in video blogs. He got me interested in hip hop again. And he's just gotten noticed for a bit he did on racism and the word racist. And I'm happy for him. The video is three or so minutes of win.

Thing is though, the video also mentions principles I've heard coming from The Angry Black Woman blog, and Angry Black Bitch and I believe Brownfemipower. Basically my online reading circle is full of Women of Colour and I've heard these principles again and again and AGAIN.

From them.

Women of Colour

Obviously in conversations about race, things will be repeated over and over again by many people. It's Racism 101, spin, spun and pre-digested a lot of the times. But I can't help noticing that the women of colour I know online who've said the same thing, over and over again didn't get noticed. Their words aren't ending up on college ciriculums. In fact just this year there's been some serious sh*t started because of word appropriation and disrespect from the white femiblogsphere.

Now maybe part of this lack of notice is because they blog, they don't post videos. And three minutes out of someone's life vs the seven minutes it might take to read a blog and have to provide your own music is just a touch too difficult. Maybe it's because they have ANGRY in their names, or in their tone, or in their blog labels.

But the next time someone makes a quip about 'The Missing Black Woman Formation' without actually stopping to think about what it means to and for Women of Colour to be invisible - they should understand why they get cybersmacked.

All props to Jay. I'm serious here.

But it's just depressing.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Astro City: The Dark Age Pt 1

I don't know why the opinions I saw about it were all about how it disappointed and how it wasn't enough. I can't go into a whole big thing about it right now - but I liked it. I liked the fact that it shows how the mood of an era can shift things. Maybe it's easier for me to read it now than people who read it when it was current. Maybe as I look around the US and see how the mood of a country could have serious, serious stakes for the future, it's not at all difficult for me to believe that an evil mastermind plot, like any other, to frame a superhero got blown all out of proportion because the mood was right for it to be blown out of proportion.

The public wanted something to believe in and they decided they were going to believe in control and that control would take a specific form. And so it happened. And yes it's a horrible, horrible waste and it's unfair and it leaves one stunned. But it's real. Our perceptions and pre-conceptions affect the way we see the world; mood is power. After all just ask someone who struggles with depression or someone with a mental disability that involves periods of mania. Mood is power.

The mood of the polulance was dangerous, unsettled and restless. Various politicans wanted to shunt blame to someone. A target was picked and led to the slaughter.

I'm seriously intrigued as to how else the foundational moments of the Williams brothers is reflected in the mood of larger society as the tale continues.

Laugh When They Pee Themselves. It's Healthier

Sometimes no matter how hard you try to talk yourself out of something - you just aren't going to win. I've ended up writing about this.


Dear Warner Brother, The CW, All Other Idiots,

* [ insert prolonged, rolling on the floor, near peeing myself laughter here, with giggling hiccups ] *

So basically what you're saying is, you want ONE TREE CREEK VILLE, where for some reason, Dick Grayson is not eight, or ten years old and a sudden orphan. But is instead a teenager who can have a first love, in a time period where the whole damn world knows his parents are gonna bite it and he's gonna end up traumatized and angry and malleable enough to end up as 'THE BOY WONDER', Batman's brightly covered, moving target, decoy, sneaky little backtalking, drive the Joker crazy, tie you up for stealing wallets, sidekick.

* [ insert prolonged, rolling on the floor, near peeing myself laughter here, with giggling hiccups ] *

Kalinara mentions already hating Dick, and thus possibly enjoying the train wreck.


Smallville ruined Superman for me too. Ruined him so well and so badly that I forgot, until reading Kurt Busiek's Samaritan that I had ever liked him. Then, spurred by this seeming new love for Superman, I started reading more and more and stumbled back into Lois and Clark and suddenly I was looking up Superman the Animated Series and going 'But wait, I used to adore this guy!'.

So I start again, I don't hate Dick Grayson. I love Dick Grayson. I wanted to be Dick Grayson. I figured parental divorce could take the place of being horribly orphaned. But being Batman's sidekick? Being trained to fight crime? Becoming a cog in the wheel of Batman's mission? I was all for that. And I was all for Nightwing and Dick striking out on his own and figuring out why he did what he did and if he still wanted to do it.

Dick Grayson's life before Bruce Wayne is something precious and warm. It's family, and light and laughter and death defying stunts. It's the heart of Nightwing sailing over rooftops and essentially doing perfrance art: Violence Ballet On A Criminal In 4 Minutes.

Dick Grayson's life before Batman is the stability of a loving family as towns change around him; the smell of sawdust and pancake makeup and animals. Though in this day and age it's more likely to be mortor oil and gas from death defying bikers, Manderin or Cantonese from a signed troupe, amazing clowns, lots of dogs, and those cool folk who spin while hung up by their hair.

Still, as wonderful and interesting as it is and as wonderful as it is to get stories about Dick going back to the circus for time to clear his head, or to visit - a show about Dick Grayson before his life changes forever, is freeze framing the moment before a cold bullet enters his heart. It's bullet-time torture.

When I combine the thought of that, with how hated Clark Kent became in Smallville (that I couldn't even watch past Episode 4, I believe way back in Season 3); When TPTB didn't ever concieve of making the show an AU where Superman either was an alien overlord or a babbling idiot directed by an overseeing presence and Lex Luthor was the hero - to play on Rosembaum's charism, chemistry and popularity - all that mixed with these frozen memories of Dick's before his life became shadows and lies and deceptions and freedom only behind a mask...

It's like watching a small child scribbling in crayola over a piece of - nay, watching a grown adult who actually should know better, adding flaking bits of plastic to a masterpiece of form, vision and movement and then going "I Made It Better! See!"

But I've discovered The DCAU Trades. So really, I'll just watch the rest of the world go "But What The Hell Is This Cursed Thing". Sort of like I watched the WB/CW mess up Tarzan.