Saturday, October 27, 2012

White Privilege, Unexamined and On Display

This evening, my aunt texted me offering to take me out to dinner. While there:

-I related a story of my boss's contempt for/unfamiliarity with tofu. My aunt replies 'What race is she?!" I ignored her, and she revised, "what's her background?" to which I replied "die hard carnivore". My aunt went on a brief rant about how some people are just so uneducated and uncultured.
-On the ride home, without a bat of an eye or a trace of irony, she completely fails to even attempt to pronounce quincenera. Her son (who's just so good at languages) jumps in with, "At her Cuisinart..."
-Also, as we left the restaurant, "well, this location [Pasadena] certainly has a different clientele than the one in Santa Monica..." As in, not 100% white. Just 60%.

Ugh. I skipped out on a pretty girl for this.

[Not sure why this didn't post when I wrote it. Going up now. Written Oct. 27, 2012]

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Sometimes TV Just Sucks

Today I came home from work to find LA polo's board breakdown crew sprawled out in the living room watching 'The Deadliest Warrior' on Netflix. The show really disturbed me, and as I watched I started teasing out exactly what I so disliked about it. List time!

-Glorification of violence and brutality.
-The disembodying of the violence from the very real men and women it was carried out on historically.
-How much the above ties into our current tolerance of the bloated military industrial complex in this country.
-Also, such a boys club. Only Manly Men can know anything about guns, amirite?
-Also, the historical inaccuracy of it all- we were watching the Waffen SS vs the Viet Cong. Those two groups went to war at very different times in history, under very different circumstances. Had the two actually engaged, it would have been under very different terms than either of them engaged the American army on.
-Oh hey, a woman! ...oh she's just a whore. Right. Whore with a gun, poor persecuted menz, being tricked by the evil women they sleep with.
-So much posturing and bullshit. Blegh.
-Oh, and those Vietnamese are just so weird, right? Like, totally backwards junglemen. And the Waffen SS's Aryan-only requirements, were just, y'know, what it takes to get the best of the best.

In summary: Explosions? Cool. Blood and guts? Cool. Both those things in the explicit context of separating them from any notion of accuracy and, more importantly, human empathy? So very not cool.

On a lighter note, I'm pretty sure that my annual NaNoWriMo attempt will actually be a NaNoBlogMo, hopefully I'll break the 5,000 word wall I seem to hit each year that way. I have over a dozen unfinished posts already, I'd like to go through and actually tease out all those ideas floating around in my head and wasting brain-RAM. To 50,000 words!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Editing is hard

I spent ages and ages on this video, and when I compiled it into a .wma file, all the precision timing was lost. but it's still awesome and worth watching for the lulz.
It seriously bummed me out to see that I'd have to go back and redo everything to fully realize the video in my head after months of working on this intermittently, amounting to several hours of my life for a one minute video using someone else's footage and someone else's music. I have even more respect for editors now.

And if that didn't cheer you up, here's my new favorite song:
Cut from "Burning Low" in the fourth season of Adventure Time.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Just Your Average Othering

So this it what I saw when I opened my Yahoo email today:
[photo shows Sikh men in prayer, headline reads "Temple gunman was on feds' radar, warned friend of 'racial holy war'"]
Leaving writing about the actual tragedy that occurred to those with more knowledge and authority than I, I'd like to focus on the conjunction of this headline and image. Maybe I wouldn't have noticed if the two hadn't been so close together, but the coverage of the Aurora shooting was always accompanied by photos of Holmes or photos of the aftermath- victims crying, police arriving, etc. Why would they choose to use a (seemingly*) random shot of Sikhs in prayer? This photo only serves to Other the Sikh community, as if their appearance is so novel that even as victims they must be shown, displayed in their day to day environment instead of in a sympathetic portrayal based on a common humanity.

I also worry about the connotations of this photo in connection with the headline. Of course, we know the phrase 'holy war' is a loaded one, most commonly associated with 9/11 and its subsequent Islamophobia. Which, by the way, is the reason this temple had been targeted by extremists in the past. So why place the two together? It's a valid news item, to see that a white extremist uses the same language as the heavily vilified non-white extremists, but this photo doesn't help subvert any norms, especially when the public is used to seeing the killer's face next to the sensationalist pieces about him.

*I can't find any citation for this photo, as it is not in the article once you click through. Even if it is a photo of members of the targeted temple, it's a poor choice compared to the candlelit vigil, etc. that are on the other thumbnails related to this event.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

So apparently Santa Cruz

is a bastion of pretty redheads.
...fuck me.

This is now the fifth city I've been to in the last two weeks. If I wasn't so attached to LA, I wouldn't want to go home at all. But this trip has also been filled with plenty of angst and drama (lost bags, broken bikes... booo!) so I'm looking forward to being back to the usual routine. I have a feeling I'll be back on the road pretty soon though- Seattle and Portland have me fairly motivated, and maybe I'll even find my way back to the Midwest. I'm hoping to write up a few more ideas that are hanging out at the back of my head too. Tentative increase in productivity, woo!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Just Want to Note

that I am so over the U.S. government. This 'democracy' is a joke.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Learning Social Justice Part 1- Being Raised Feminist

For a few weeks, I've been planning a series exploring how I came to my current state of awareness on social issues. So far I have around 8 installments planned, and I intend to add on to that as I continue to learn and grow on new topics.

For me, feminism had no discernible starting point. I was raised by an overwhelmingly female and at least feminist-leaning, if not overtly feminist, family. My maternal grandmother was a doctor at a time when such a thing was still quite rare, and (I get the impression) she raised her son and three daughters in a more egalitarian than usual household. By the time I came around, that son had married a feminist, and the two other daughters remained unmarried until I was a bit older. My parents are also both physicians, and all of those aunts freely pursued their careers of choice, to great success. This meant that my earliest years saw very little gendered discrimination, because no one in my family was inclined to say, "You can't be an astronaut, that's what boys do." The only inequality I noticed in my two-years-younger brother's treatment and mine stemmed from our age differences. It wasn't until my tomboy sister came along that I noticed any sort of gender policing behavior, and the extent of that was really that she was forced to wear dresses to very formal events. While there was plenty of complaining about it, she was regularly allowed to wear only our brother's hand me downs and never mine (unless they went to him first, but she didn't need to know I owned them originally). The majority of our conflicts with our parents stemmed from (our own) violence and tendencies towards mayhem, not the failure to perform gender exactly which I so often hear feminists, particularly those of an older generation, reporting.

I'm not sure how they did it, but my family did manage to instill a bit critical thinking in me from a very young age. I strongly preferred the proactive Ariel to any of the other Disney princesses, until Pocahontas entered the picture, and I remember pondering the fact that every princess has a prince to save her. I genuinely liked pink, but I hated pinkification- I was very upset at my seventh or eighth birthday party, because it was Pocahontas themed, yet every single plate and napkin was pink. That was not how the movie's color scheme went.

Another big influence was the street I grew up on- for the first seven years of my life, my family lived on that idyllic suburban street where all the kids play in the street until dinnertime. Our neighbors were a diverse set of people, and it didn't occur to me until much later in life how problematic some would have found them. While there were a few instances of bigoted perspectives (there was speculation our Mexican neighbor was a drug dealer, our gay neighbors were 'roommates' until years later), we kids were just taught to treat everyone in the neighborhood with respect. I think this is pretty demonstrative of how bigotry becomes reduced through the generations- as one generation learns to only whisper prejudices behind closed doors, their children don't ever learn to even whisper them. Of course, there are plenty of other coded and overt bigotries that are still perpetuated every day, but I like to be optimistic that our country is getting somewhere, however slowly.

Up next: Early Instances of Dissonance