Saturday, February 28, 2009

Hmm Smells Like Cripsy Asshole

Ahh, looks like people are going to have to be real persuasive here next time I ask about webcomics, but specifically comics - indie or otherwise, cause me being pointed to things like Rainbow Wars or The Kitty Red Lantern of Rage? Not happening anymore.

Scans_Daily helped me get back into comics and now, well, Peter David got emo brainhurt and now Scans_Daily rests with the fishes.

Is there anyone who writes in mainstream superhero comics who isn't a ginormous, ego stroking asshole?

Dear Peter David,

When I tell you 'Die In A Fire', I do so because I don't want to use sex as an insult or phrase revolving around my disgust and anger with you. Fucking is fun, and it shouldn't be used to tell people to go deflate their heads. Also, rape is serious and also shouldn't be used to go tell people to deflate their heads.

Now I'm going to imagine you happily roasting to bits in a fire (LIKE BACON)- cause really, my personal fantasy tv, isn't something you can censor (though you can complain). Much like I can complain, but can't censor your skanky race and gender issues.


Note:Peter David + Reporting To Marvel + Scans Daily Goes Poof. I do not know if he was directly or indirectly responsible (or responsible at all).... I just smell bacon. Oh the power of my imagination. I don't even know what the asshole looks like, but in my mind? Oh the sickly sweet scent of burning flesh.

Friday, February 27, 2009

The Status Quo & Other Thinky Thoughts

NB:Long ass rambly post & I still don't do Blogger's round about cut tags.

Looking up something on a completely different topic, I stumbled onto The Cocoa Longue. Two articles caught my eye, the first - The Black Best Friend In Hollywood. The comments are especially interesting. There's one that claims that black actresses should just shell out money to create indie projects which they can star in and stop complaining.

The other bit to catch my eye was a"Whatever Happened To Gerren Taylor" titled American the (not) so Beautiful; documentary website here.

Now this is old stuff, 2007 stuff. But it got me to thinking about progression. I was surprised at the GI Joe action figures. I was surprised at the revisionist classical artwork replicas. I was surprised at the stick thin women in Wolverine & The Xmen. But the question for me as I thought about these things is, should I have been?

Even as sparing as I am in what I consume media wise, this trend didn't come out of nowhere. And yet I can remember all the hype over Calista Flockheart, whose body type now seems to be taken as the norm, but once upon a time the media was commenting on whether that was her natural body type or if she was anorexic and what kind of message that was sending.

What a difference a decade makes, yes?

The reason I'm bringing this up in the first place, however, is because of one word, one word in the linked article, a quote from the LA Times. the heart of "America the Beautiful" is Gerren, a teen model who got labeled "obese" (emphasis mine) by the fashion industry at age 14 — as a 6-foot size 4...She was measured in London with 96-centimeter (37.8 inches) hips and told she had to be 90 centimeters (35.4 inches) or under to model in Paris. (Then as now, she weighs 130 pounds.)

Gerren Taylor aka 'Baby Naomi' states in the documentary itself that "Health doesn't become an option in this business... if you're going to worry about your health, go to college".

I sat there for a moment and it hit me in a confused mess, just how the line could very well be drawn. Fashion decides on skinny - I don't know how or why, maybe one particular model brought an unusual look because of her body type, or maybe it's some sort of internal thing about not resting on one's laurels if you're a size 0 - aim for -2. I have no clue. What I do note is that what goes up on billboards and in commercials and in magazines becomes the new standard and suddenly the new fashion standard becomes the new fit.

But then it hit me deeper, for example if Serena and Venus Williams weren't prize winning, accomplished athletes, would doctors tell them they were fit? I'm not sure. I'm inclined to believe no, simply because the new fashion standard always seems to move towards making women look even more frail and delicate and dependent.

Or should I phrase that as white women, and "obese" has become one of the words that means ugly, the way that black meant ugly and grotesque and there was no way a darkie could ever measure up the the pale, delicate flower of womanhood represented by white women.

Except nowadays there are a lot of white women who don't measure up to 'the pale, delicate flower of womanhood' and WoC, particularly darker WoC can't even get a foot in the door. The Missing Black Woman Formation, quoted from Scott Westerfeld's SO YESTERDAY.

Vixen's and other heroines of color being white washed - it fits this. If these heroines are going to be defined as beautiful then they have to fit into the 'pale delicate flower of womanhood', that means, thinner and paler. But they're also attempting to stand strong in a White Man's World, so to appease that affront, they have to be passively sexually aggressive.

Yeah, I know, the three words shouldn't make any sense. What the hell is passively sexually aggressive. Well, it's The Wonder Thong and the plunging necklines and characters drawn as if they're not wearing a bra (far less a sports bra). Sexuality highlighted is it then ok to oggle these women, because it's right in our faces? And then there's cries of ignorance when women say the poses and clothing undercut the strength of the characters. And yet... Citizen Steel couldn't have a shiny on his package because a male character couldn't be so passively...sexually suggestive/aggressive.

So if you can't be a pale delicate flower of womanhood, you have to be some kind of tart. And if you're not white, you have to look closer to white, otherwise there could be ickiness in having a sexually suggestive, thus non Mammy, black, or darker WoC figure. And all those women need to be wrapped up into near impossibility/invisibility because somehow they have to maintain that 'delicate and dependent' state somehow, no matter what they're actually doing, because that's who and what women are, so even if it's just a visual delicateness and frailty, it must be there.

She-Hulk and the trails and tribulations of Jen to maintain and have control over her transformation, suddenly have deeper meaning. Misty Knight's strength and dedication of purpose, matched with a bionic arm, and loose swinging breasts suddenly have, at least to me, deeper meaning; especially when she's put in passive sexually suggestive (aggressive) poses. And the messing up of her hair? So that it invoked something ridiculous, perhaps even something tribal (like those cartoon images of dark skinned beings in grass/straw skirts with grass straw binding their hair at one point, with it poofing out at another).

- The Sapphire.

It's all just make-overs of pre-existing stereotypes, isn't it? Maintaining the status quo in one form or another. And they get passed on and on and on.

Michelle Obama as a black, fashionable, beautiful woman, being strong in public has caused all sorts of shock and backlash that I've just kind of stared at. But now things are clicking. Because when something challenges that status quo, fighting like a kitten in a wet paper-bag - it often isn't successful. Somehow it just doesn't 'draw audience'. On the other hand, Mrs. Obama isn't fading into obscurity anytime soon.

I'm going to think on this some more and also try to search out the stereotypes for men - because a friend of mine told me the other day about 'calf implants and I can remember seeing comments about a picture of Arnold Schwarzenegger post surgery about how 'He'd let himself go' without any consideration of his age, and how healthy he had to be to recover swiftly from any kind of heart surgery in the first place. There's something teasing on the edges about men needing to be in control at all times; of their bodies, their penises, their erections, their salaries, their status and presentation.

Y'know, sometimes I think we are all in the Matrix and this bs is the no-utopia formulated to keep us all just miserable enough not to wake up - I'll let you know if my computer starts talking to me.

PS: Kirk? That whole thing where you look at women who should be being mothers and grandmothers as age dictates, except you see the sexy (not delicate, pale flowers in need of protection) - all the 'Arrgh I hate that Box man!' makes so much more sense to me now. You're shaking things up all over.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Not A Porcelain Doll

Click click, the falling dominoes; the ripple affect of inspiration, continues.

There's a new Carnival about to carve a place for itself. The first Asian Women Blog Carnival. [Deadline: April 3 2009]

And there will be so much to talk about, I think. Kelly Hu promoting Obama, and how other Asian Pacific, specifically Asian Hawaiian women feel about the new President springs instantly to my mind. But there's also Asian Women in works of Joss Whedon; Asian Women right now in DOLLHOUSE - so ok, maybe my pov is a little SF specific, aside from current politics.

But I'm not an Asian Woman - I'm just interested in what they have to say about themselves, to themselves, with themselves. So I invite any who may currently be reading SA to check out the link and see if it's something they (you) would consider contributing to and reading.

I plan to shut up and listen when I'm not actively promoting, cause I applaud those who hack out the space and say "This is the conversation I want to have!".

Now I leave you with a piece by a group pointed out to me by an Asian Female Acquaintance (whom I hope in the future becomes a good friend).

Yellow Rage: Def Poetry Jam

Monday, February 23, 2009

Fighting Cobra

I was originally just going to heads up some people - namely Kali921, because she's a professed GI Joe and more importantly, a Baroness fan.

The Baroness has no internal organs. Apparently the other female characters don't either, witness, Scarlett and Cover Girl.

It's been a while since childhood for me and a longer while since toys - but I don't remember female action figures looking so 'break like a twig' back then. In fact, I'm finding myself thinking of something I mentioned in the comments concerning the characters in Wolverine & The Xmen. Someone else has noticed just how skinny the female characters are in this new incarnation of Xmen on TV.

Stylistic choice or not, it is worth noticing, as they did, that Storm's hair is bigger than she is.

Also of note in the GI Joe toy packages, is that when Scarlett isn't pinched in at the waist, she's got a plunging neckline. Male characters? Exo-skeletons and body armor. Scarlett? V for... something.

I'm actually looking forward to the GI Joe Movie. It's one of the few things/enterprises of nostalgia I don't think I'll walk away from feeling as if they messed everything up (barring huge ass plot holes) - mostly because I don't remember enough about it. I was a GI Joe the cartoon series (with cartoon movies) fan girl when I was very, very little. Sleepovers involved watching the movies and shouting 'Go Joe!' and then playing out missions the next day. I remember my play missions more than the cartoons, you see.

But I think my childhood fascination with red hair may have started because of Scarlett (or maybe it was my Batgirl doll).

Anyway, it's not the movies that are likely to make me take a deep breath and pause and shake my head right now. It's the realization that once upon a time, Scarlett had thighs and didn't look as if she'd break if I made her do a roundhouse kick.

Well of course I played with action figures as a child, I'm a girl! [ /end sarcasm ]

I've also got a thing for Matchbox cars. (Hmm pretty cars in pretty colours with sleek, sensual shapes and incredible detailing....)

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Wolverine & The Xmen: Forge

Quick question. In the new animated show, Wolverine & The Xmen - is Forge supposed to be Native American? I've a friend currently fangirling him really hard and she sent me to the show's site.

So I'm watching Ep 5, because the character drawing for Forge showed a beard and didn't mention anything at all about him being NDN. Now I'm aware it's not true for the whole group /obviously not for those who are mixed, but in general First Nations Peoples of the Americas aren't hairy folk. And Forge is supposed to be Cheyenne.

Then again, a quick peek in Wikipedia shows him with a moustache.

So does anyone know whether or not this new Forge is white?

I saw Amara's now blonde with a slight accent I couldn't place. And she didn't seem to look non-white to me.

Do I even want to know what happened with Sooryaa (Dust)? Cause her bio pic shows her hands clasped as if for prayer, making me think of a nun in an all black habit instead of a modest Muslim woman wearing abaya and niqab.

So far this isn't making me want to watch the show.

PS: In Evolutions, while he wasn't used much, when he did show up, Forge looked plenty First Nations to me. And Amara was brown.

Friday, February 13, 2009

PoC in SF Carnival: Submissions Needed!

The *stops to count* 12th POC in SF & F Carnival is being hosted at BOOKS @ Hathor Legacy. The theme and submission requests are up, so please go take a look and spread the word.

Got Brown?

Deadline: 2/27/09

RaceFail 09's eaten into lots of people's time and energy, so the Carnival Issues might be a little jumbled this year, not in the order originally intended, maybe a little a lot late - but we'll take a breath and keep on ticking.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Random Update (also Webcomics)

I've been messing with my links, trying to group things clearer and also make as neatly as possible some neon signs about what my space here is. Added some links yesterday to The Painted World; which lists some webcomics I follow.

And I'm thinking of doing a general review of Dominic Deegan: Oracle For Hire. Because I not only enjoy the comic, but slow me, it's just hit me that, because of the Orcs in the storyline, it'd be kind of topical now. :)

If you've got webcomics reccs of your own to share with me, please do. It's a nice way to recharge in the midst of Racefail-09. And I'm discovering that the world of webcomics is breathlessly broad. People tackle all sorts of things in all sorts of ways. I've been sucked into a couple slice of life types that if I'd seen them in a store, I'd never have picked them up at all.

I still want more digitally available comics. And I'd near stab someone for a full colour digital comics portable reader (I am not impressed with Kindle 2.0). But I could see myself spending the $20+ on webcomic trades quite easily. I'd know what I was getting for one thing, and these are stories I'd enjoy re-reading tremendously. I'm currently thinking of going back to 'First Page' for GOBLINS, just for the comfort rush.

ETA: My interests clarified

[PS: Thanks, Lurkerwithout, looking at your recc now. Two pages in and I'm very intrigued.]

Monday, February 9, 2009

Comments Now Closed

Once again someone's felt the need to post a comment to me explaining the deal behind RDJ and Tropic Thunder. Because apparently I cannot be allowed to think it is racist and surely if they explain to me what the point is, I will stop calling or thinking of it as racist.

I'm not publishing the comment. I'm fed up with people going. "Be offended when there's something real to be offended about. But this was a joke. It's funny. It's all about_____ not whatever you think it is."

Because really? No. If you have to explain the joke to someone, then not only is not not a good joke, not only is it not funny, but it's not universal at all.

Hollywood sucks at race. Sucks pretty damn bad and pretty damn hard. Having a movie where people get away with blackface for whatever reason; when Hollywood itself and quite a few of its actors are clueless white people? It's one more shit drop in a bucket of feces in how race is handled in the media.

But I've stopped expecting 101-ers to get that. So comments there and here are closed.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Point A to F

Excuse me while I boggle on how a conversation about writing the Other, and racism in SF&F, has now become "a cast of mostly pseudonymous thousands...Aliases are for people on Wanted posters. Aliases are for con-men and crooks. Give it up. Come out."

I have to be honest, seeing all this fuss over the hurt feelings of a white man who can't admit he made a misjudgment is very amusing. It's a role reversal. Usually it's a fragile, oh so delicate and precious white woman for whom all sorts of arguments get dragged out and put on chargers and made to dash headlong into things.

Even more interesting to me, is this statement:

Certainly, most of you believe that I am a fat black CIA agent sitting in a bunker in Arizona and not actually the slim blonde in Pleasantville, New York I claim to be.

It's interesting because I begin to wonder just what kind of conversations are going on behind the scenes. It's an interesting juxiposition, isn't it? Fat and black vs slim and blonde. I mean when one considers the continuing online saga of Teresa Neilsen Hayden: Silences.

She's behaved as if there aren't any at all intelligent black speculative fiction fans who're online and there's no way they could have developed community, building upon post colonial theories and anti-racism dialogues of the past. Everyone who responded to her husband, thus driving him to swoon, and blush faintly, throw a hand over his forehead and retreat from public life on Livejournal (in particular - he seems to be doing fine on his regular blog), simply must be a sockpuppet; an imitation person controlled by another who is hiding behind aliases.

So now, for the sake of one man (sounds very Mr. Movie-voice doesn't it), there's the stirrings of a movement; a real names online movement. And it all came about because denial of white privilege and unconscious racist thought is so needed.

Then again, maybe this 'movement' has another purpose. Maybe there's also been talk behind the scenes of how one can't properly pigeonhole who's a PhD and who's a PoC due to the relative anonymity pseudonym brands have on the internet.

I must do some research to discover what other movements have come about because of the need for white denial and white comfort.

Meanwhile I'm going to recharge for February and try to figure out how I want to handle the 'Summer of Fiction'; so I can continue to have the conversation I WANT to have.

PS: "Total shout out to the anonymous orcing hordes. I say Hooooo manflesh!"

Monday, February 2, 2009

Lone Brown Face

Dev Patel, has been cast to play Prince Zuko. The young actor of comedic timing and with the general facial and body attributes to play Sokka; A Watertribe Warrior in the LIVE ACTION A:TLA, will instead be playing - Prince Zuko, he of the brooding angst and need to reclaim his honor in his father's eyes. (source)

So the anti-hero is brown and there are ethnic extras:

"It doesn't mean you're at a disadvantage if you didn't come in a big African thing. But guys, even if you came with a scarf today, put it over your head so you'll look like a Ukrainian villager or whatever."

Y'know this looks to me like so much throwing of dry, thin bones from M.Night and Paramount. (Jesse McCartney's Tour Date conflict - nice and polite fiction).

Yeah, I'm still upset. Yes, Avatar: The Last Airbender (Live Action) is still whitewashed to me. Moreover, aren't Inuit, Japanese, Chinese, Tibetan, South Asian and Meso-American civilizations not diverse enough?

Can casting and M.Night Shyamalan not conceive of four distinct nations who are all NOT WHITE? AND who are also not African?

Cause in real life? That list is a hell of a lot longer.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

No Means No

When I say, "I'm not your teacher", don't send me a comment anyway, try to talk to me, because you think your circumstance is so unique; You are so special, I must respond.

When I say, "That hurt me", don't tell me it didn't because you know what you mean/ you know what you want/you're enjoying yourself.

When I say, "Don't put your hand there!", don't tell me that whatever happened was a long time ago, and you're not that other person/not like them and my entire body shouldn't seize up and if it does I'm just oversensitive and over-reacting and need to calm down.

When I start shouting and screaming of your violation, at the pain you've caused, don't tell me to shhh. Don't put your hand over my mouth because I'm making noise and causing a fuss and making a big deal out of things.

When I look at you, after all you've done and use the R word, don't tell me that's a label you reject because you don't see yourself that way and it has nothing to do with my hurt.

When I try to pass you by, don't tell me I can think whatever I want, but you know the truth. Don't laugh secure in your power and tell me to lift my chin up and smile a little because the world doesn't like a sour puss or someone playing the victim.

When the next time I see you, I turn away, don't shake your head and wonder what you ever did to upset me, or talk about how bitter I am and how I used to be so nice.

No means no.

Learn to respect it.