jlh: Chibi of me in an apron with a cocktail glass and shaker. (IBARW dustbin)
Like many on the social media platforms I belong to, I'm sad about Steve Jobs tonight. I'm writing this post on a macbook—every computer I've ever owned has been a mac, from the SE I had in college to this one, and several I actually had at work—and I have an iphone and an ipod and all the rest.

But I would really appreciate it if, in your mourning, you could take just a moment to think of another great American who died today, Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth. This post from Good discusses how important he was to the civil rights movement here in the US—so important that they named the Birmingham, AL airport after him.

Let's stop and think about that. They named the airport after a man who led marches, who got arrested, and who forced the authorities in that very city to turn dogs and water canons on him, because he believed in civil rights. So if you've been following stuff like occupy wall street, then yeah, that's part of his legacy.

RIP, Rev. Shuttlesworth. We will try to carry on your work.

jlh: Woodward and Bernstein in the Library of Congress from the film All the President's Men (duos: Woodstein in the library)
Introduction to the NewSouth edition of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn.

Fantastic reading. If all you've seen of the current controversy is "they're taking out the n-word!" and/or sarcastic comments on Twitter, I urge you to read the introduction. (Particularly because they aren't just removing the word, but replacing it with "slave", and also because they're removing a perjorative term for Native Americans and replacing it with "Indian". They're also replacing "half-breed" with "half-blood.")

I find that I can’t get all that worked up about this. Part of the reason is that if this is what it takes to put one of the books on most people’s shortlist for The Great American Novel* into the hands of more people and off the list of books most frequently removed from school libraries, I’m all for it. Part of it is that we have a certain hysteria over the n-word that means that all historical instances of it need to be painstakingly put into context and even then some students (black and otherwise) refuse to accept the text. (Believe me, I’ve gone through this many a time, teaching American history using mostly primary documents.) In fact, when I was in high school in the 80s, there was a movement of African-American parents to remove the book from schools because of its use of the word. Part of the reason is that this novel has long since passed into the public domain, so it’s not like this particular edition will be the only one that exists—and surely there are somewhat expurgated versions of The Canterbury Tales that get read in schools as well.

What this particular controversy makes me think of, again, is how unfortunate it is that for so many Americans their only exposure to literature, other than the occasional Oprah Book Club selection, is their high school English classes. And I’m just not sure if the average room of 14-year-olds is the right environment for a classroom discussion of the use of the n-word in Huck Finn. It has a tendency, by its mere presence, to overshadow everything else that’s going on in the book, which I think is really too bad. Because otherwise, it’s an incredibly accessible text, funny and clever and narrated by a kid who stands a little outside of the culture he’s observing. And Jim is one of my favorite characters, ever.

So if a few more people get to meet Jim in a book where he’s referred to as a slave rather than the n-word, I really can’t see that as a bad thing.

*My own shortlist is Huck Finn, Gatsby, Moby-Dick, and Beloved.
jlh: Chibi of me in an apron with a cocktail glass and shaker. (Default)
Two big links that lead me to two big thoughts on two big issues, but really really, if you care about either issue please follow the links.

First, my pal [livejournal.com profile] kalichan wrote an amazing post about a week ago: What's Love Got To Do With It: My Thoughts on *fail that everyone who's interested in such matters, especially in the way social justice is interacting with fandom, should read right now.

related thoughts on fail and shame and love )

The Pop Culture Happy Hour Podcast this week was at least partially about comics, specifically super hero comics, where the three folks on the podcast who aren't comic readers were given two recent Batman comics by their fourth podcaster, who's the comics editor at NPR, and came back with their reactions. Lots of great conversation about barriers to entry, and within that one of the readers noted that if one wants to get the entire projected 5-year story in these monthly single-issue installments it becomes incredibly expensive, not just as money spent but also in cost for the entertainment gained (at least, in terms of time) when compared to buying movies/music/tv shows/books.

In terms of that, I'll say that I look at the $250 I spent on 23 volumes of Fruits Basket and yeah, I'm not sure I really got my money's worth. I mean, I can't even take those books on the train with me (where I do a lot of my reading) because I can get through a volume in about 20 minutes. I have a whole entry in me about how much culture used to be free or pretty low-cost versus how much we're expected to spend nowadays, but I'm having difficulty framing that conversation in a way that doesn't sound like I'm advocating theft; I'm more saying that the model we are moving toward at the moment where people pay directly (rather than advertiser support) is probably untenable in large ways.
jlh: Woodward and Bernstein in the Library of Congress from the film All the President's Men (duos: Woodstein in the library)
So I decided to see, in terms of words, exactly how I stack up with the writing of the ladies and the characters of color, and given how much Rymon and Kirk/McCoy I've written, the answer is not too shabby. (And then, of course, because I'm geeky like that, I looked a bunch of other stuff.)

numbers, numbers, numbers )

So how are we judging people? For surely we are. We're making lists and shouting about the lack of fic and looking askance at those writing in prominent slash ships, presuming that anyone who writes one surely isn't writing anything else. But of course that isn't true, can't be true. I know there are those who only write white boy slash—in fact only ever write the hot slash pairing of the moment—but I don't think those people are all of us. And some of us writing white boy slash are just writing pairings that we love, that aren't popular, don't get panels at con.txt, like my own Ryan/Simon (or Seamus/Dean for that matter, though at least I get black boy points for that one). But obviously I feel defensive no matter what, and I'm not the only one.

I'd hate to think that my writing should only be prominent white boy slash (for which I get rewarded by the fangirl masses) or non white boy slash (for which I get rewarded by the social justice crew). I honestly believe in people writing more about women and characters of color. I believe in rewarding it when it happens and encouraging others to write it. But I'm not sure how much I want to make big glancing attacks against any hot white boyslash ship as The Reason Other Things Aren't Written. The problem is systemic and so much larger than that. While we can combat it one writer at a time, we might want to acknowledge those one writers at a time, or at least that a lot of those writers, like myself, have written a lot of things, only some of which is the Whiteboy Slash Pairing of the Nanosecond.

As [livejournal.com profile] kalichan quoted in the comments of my previous entry, I am large, I contain multitudes. I would hope that we all can be generous enough to grant that our fellow fandom writers might be equally diverse.
jlh: Chibi of me in an apron with a cocktail glass and shaker. (Default)
I made a post over on the tumblr about being a feminist. It seemed more appropriate there because for a while I was following some feminist bloggers, and also because I somehow ended up on a list of feminist tumblrs, which I'm really honored to be on.

In related news, I was sad a few weeks ago, when I felt like all of my own fics about ladies and/or characters of color were pointless, because the people who are angry about the lack of ladies and characters of color in fic don't care what I do or have done! I think that possibly doing those things only counts in scifi fandoms, or if you write the right pairings--not unlike mainstream boyslash fandom! And I can only write what I write, the pairings I like in the fandoms I like. I would hope that the Mercedes/Quinn that I'm working on, or the Parvati/Lavender that I wrote a while back, or the stuff I'll do for [community profile] tenwomen would "count", but I'm pretty prepared for them to all go unnoticed except by the people who want them. (And to those people I am HUGELY GRATEFUL AND THANKFUL because they keep me going.)

I am only one writer, after all. I cannot single-handedly change the fic counts at AO3, or make more of the pairing you're looking for in the fandom you're in that I'm not in appear, or make /cm/ disappear. It is not within my power! I'm just sad, I guess, that the every little bit that all of us can do is ignored in favor of more ranting about the people who aren't doing it. I think we need carrots as well as sticks here. I think we need to be encouraging as well as angry, if we want things to change.
jlh: Chibi of me in an apron with a cocktail glass and shaker. (Default)
Here's the first way: I was tagging my fics with more than one 'type' of ship as 'multi', not realizing that you could click off more than one 'type' in the box. Which means that the stuff I've written literally doesn't 'count' as anything at all for an analyis like this. And that sucks! I would hate to think that my fics are "white noise."

So I'm going to retag all my fics when I get home tonight.

But that brings me to a larger problem, of writing a fic with more than one ship. Writing femslash and het and slash sucks, because shippers are purists. )

On what counts as a character of color. )

And yes, I need to finish the HIMYM racebending fic. The first draft just kind of wasn't working.
jlh: Ryan Seacrest with his hand up, text says "talk to the hand" (gents: Ryan talk to the hand)
I'll start with a question, in reaction to [personal profile] bookshop's post of a few days ago in which she wanted a show with a lead character (not a member of an ensemble) who is gay, but the show is not about their being gay.

The question is: Can you name a broadly targeted scripted network show form the last year or two--for the Americans, let's call that ABC-CBS-NBC-FOX-CW-TNT-TBS-USA-FX-HBO-Showtime, not anything targeted like BET or Logo or even Lifetime, and in the UK, substitute accordingly--that has a lead character (not a member of an ensemble) who is anything other than a straight, white, cisgendered, ablebodied man or woman? And beyond that, can you name a show that does have as its lead a straight, white, cisgendered, ablebodied woman who isn't played by an actress who is over 40 and who has already established a career in film or television (and who, because she's over 40, doesn't have many movie roles being offered to her anymore so she's turned to TV)?

Since the problem is much, much larger than sexuality, I think we need to be aware that we need to attack on all fronts at all times, or we'll get into these ugly places where we accept that there should be, in a six-person ensemble, four or five white straight ablebodied cisgendered men, and then one or two roles for everyone else to fight over. Because that's what the kyriarchy wants us to do: fight each other for the scraps they choose to throw to us.

Which brings me to the white, straight, cisgendered, ablebodied men in the title of this post. no spoilers for Sherlock, STXI, or Merlin here )
jlh: Chibi of me in an apron with a cocktail glass and shaker. (Clio Chibi)
Hey, it's cultural erasure in a big bang part two! Hopefully this will not get lost in the wake of the spn incident.

[personal profile] sohotrightnow posted on Thursday about a [livejournal.com profile] bandombigbang story that erased Gabe Saporta's Jewish identity, making him into a Catholic priest. There's the usual "anti-Semitism doesn't exist anymore" crap, later, rinse, repeat—check that post for details and other links. As the story has been taken down I'm not going to mention the author or any of that.

However, if you don't think there aren't plenty of folks who do hate Jewish people—well, as usual, Choire at The Awl said it better in his post earlier this week:
The most irritating and troubling part, I think, is that we all do have to acknowledge (over and over again, for real) that, in the real world, people actually hate Jews so much. Oh my God, everyone still hates the Jews. Believe it! And if the hard Christian wing of the Tea Party crowd weren't mostly convinced that, yay, the End Times are here, because blah blah the Jews are back in the promised land or whatever, and therefore are sort of uncomfortably pro-Israel, then this would be the worst time ever for the Jews, because don't think that gang wouldn't be lunging at every "Jew Banker Friend To MUSLIM PRESIDENT" or whatever that they could. (Allies, take 'em where you can!)
AU's just work better when instead of having a script in your head that you need to plug the available "cast" into, you have a loose scenario, see how the "cast" fit into that, and go where they lead you. It's more fun to write and certainly more fun to read. Sometimes fitting them in is a stretch, and sometimes one has to change things, but one hopes in a way that is at least respectful to the people/characters in question.

Which is all to say: it all strikes me as so unnecessary! Which is the worst of it!
jlh: Chibi of me in an apron with a cocktail glass and shaker. (Clio Chibi)
Ever since [personal profile] bookshop tweeted about it yesterday afternoon I've had a good time (you know, for versions of good time that mean "read in abject horror, laugh because it's so bad you can't believe it's happening") watching the unfolding reactions to a story posted at [livejournal.com profile] spn_j2_bigbang wherein Jensen is a doctor working for MSF in Haiti following the earthquake and Jared is a photojournalist and they fall in love against the background of disaster, etc. I mean, once I tell you the premise you know the story—brave crusading doctor, self-depricating about his impact and working in Haiti to escape failures in his own life; arrogant and cynical journalist running from hot spot to hot spot looking for the next juicy story and never letting himself get involved, realizing the doctor is the Real Thing and inspired to be the Real Thing in his own work, blah blah blah buttsex.

Bonus: Jensen's faithful Haitian nurse Abraham, who drives him around the countryside and acts as an intermediary generally while fulfilling plenty of horrible cultural stereotypes that aren't even limited to Magical Negro. He has such an impact on Jared and Jensen that when they go back to the states (with his blessing) they name their large black cat after him, because you know, Abraham was so large. And black.

[livejournal.com profile] amazonziti has a billion links here. I'd recommend checking out [personal profile] bossymarmalade's choice list of quotes from the fic. My favorite comment of the entire [livejournal.com profile] spnpermanon thread:
What all these people defending her don't seem to get is that some of us don't CARE if she "gets it". I have no personal investment in a random stranger's growth as regards to privilege, race, and society. I DO have a personal investment in not having racist tropes and depictions spread across lj fandom.

And if she refuses to GET IT, I will settle for her stopping because it makes people angry and she doesn't want to deal with it.

Calling out racism is also, like the Haiti tragedy, NOT ABOUT THE GROWTH OF PRIVILEGED WHITE PEOPLE.


If you're my friend, or if I'm connected to you, and I see something that makes me uncomfortable, I'm going to let you know. If I don't yet know you well, it honestly might take me a little longer, because it's not a fun conversation to have. But if I don't know you? I'm not here to facilitate your growth. I'm just … not.
jlh: Chibi of me in an apron with a cocktail glass and shaker. (Clio Chibi)
ironic product placement is only ok if you take no money & beyond that give all the income to something ironic. like the Klan. —Amanda Palmer

(That link takes you to [livejournal.com profile] sparkymonster's entry, in which there are many photos of the product placement in Lady Gaga's "Telephone" video along with photos of various Klan activities. Work safe, but definitely disturbing.)

I find people who are outrageous for the sake of being outrageous to be seriously uninteresting, even more uninteresting than the people who are boring and middle-of-the-road, because at least those people know who they are and what they're doing. Celine Dion, for example, is very upfront that she's making music to be played in the background of people's lives, and you know, you have to respect that at least she knows where she fits in.

What I find even worse about the outrageous types is that if you're not on their train, then you don't understand art, don't understand their "journey", you're too conventional, whatever. Which I find incredibly, incredibly cowardly, the "you just don't get me" rationale. And that message is very effective, especially for people who think of themselves as open and are actually trying. (The people that don't have already wandered off.) They're the ones who really want the Emperor to be wearing, well, at least a thong.

Which is all to say, I didn't know of Amanda Palmer before she got together with her man, not that I really keep tabs on him either but the union showed up on [livejournal.com profile] fandomsecrets so I heard her name. (Though I do keep confusing it with Laura Palmer from Twin Peaks.) And thanks to a mention about some previous controversy in another post, I found her defensive blog entry about the Evelyn Evelyn matter.

And honestly, I don't want to listen to her music, because I really can't get on board with whatever she thinks her program is. It seems, to me, self-indulgent and attempting to step up to the line of offense without going over—to "make people think" as she says. When she's challenged, she starts hollering about context—when no one gets any context on twitter; that's the genius and the horror of it. Well, I think that she likes playing with fire, but blames her audience when she gets burned. And I don't have a lot of sympathy for that.
jlh: Chibi of me in an apron with a cocktail glass and shaker. (Clio Chibi)
Okay, let's be realistic: even if Avatar didn't have the problems that it has, I might still not have seen it because I don't really like action movies that much.* But I hope that everyone who has seen it and will see it will read When Will White People Stop Making Movies Like 'Avatar'? which encapsulates the race problems not only in Avatar but also in District 9. Also worth reading, from Overthinking It, John Smith/Pocahontas stories suck.

I saw Matrix II, maybe the weekend it opened, at a theater on 34th st in Manhattan. Because The Matrix had a bunch of black folks in it, there were a bunch of black folks in the audience. One of the previews we saw was The Last Samurai—you know, the movie where Tom Cruise as a disillusioned Civil War vet goes to Japan and becomes a better samurai in a few months than any of the, I don't know, Japanese warriors who've been training for a lifetime—and this guy in the theater shouted, "Why do we need the white man to tell us the ways of the samurai?"

The answer is, of course, that no one in Hollywood thinks that white people will go see a movie if it doesn't have a white protagonist (or Will Smith). And that white protagonist has to kick ass harder than any of the colored folks that have taught him their ways, because the story isn't about the actual plight of the colored folks, but about their facilitation of the personal growth of the white hero. Dances With Wolves isn't about the attempts of the Sioux to keep their land—we don't even meet them until at least a third of the way through the movie. It's about a disillusioned Civil War vet who goes native, but without actually taking a Native American wife. And in the process becomes an awesomer Sioux than any of the Sioux.

Well, you know, I'm not here so my white friends can have a black friend. I'm not in any way saying that my white friends think that, but that's the parallel. The Sioux and the Japanese don't exist to teach white men valuable lessons about living with the land or using a sword or whatever. In big words we call this cultural appropriation.

Not to mention that cultural appropriation and the hero narrative combine to make a toxic message. Because the hero has to be awesomer than everyone else in a very simplistic way, what we get over and over again is that white people are so awesome that they can learn how to be black/Japanese/Sioux/Na'vi in three simple lessons and then become even better black/Japanese/Sioux/Na'vi than the black/Japanese/Sioux/Na'vi are themselves. Of course everyone wants a white guy to be their leader! If only the Sioux had been white, they wouldn't have lost their land!

[livejournal.com profile] rawles made a post about this the other day, so I'll just head off at the pass a few of the typical arguments:
  1. James Cameron already said that Avatar is to a certain extent about race, but even if he hadn't, any story that's about a more powerful nation's conquest of another nation is going to be about race.
  2. It's beyond insulting to compare the few days or weeks or months that Jake Sully spends with the Na'vi with being biracial or even being adopted into a culture as a young person and growing up in it. Anyone who's grown up in a somewhat insular culture can understand that. You can adapt it later, you can take it as your own and learn its ways and immerse yourself in it, and you can do all of this for honest and sincere reasons, but it takes decades to be "of" it. Never mind that you've still made a choice that you can always reverse, and that makes the entire experience seriously different than actually being born into a culture, especially if we're talking about race.
  3. If you really think that sci-fi and fantasy aren't about humanity (which includes race and gender and lots of other things) because they're about made-up peoples, and that people who talk about race in speculative fiction are "bringing race into the argument" where it doesn't exist, then we seriously have nothing to say to each other.


[livejournal.com profile] hoshizora also made a post about how Sully's disability actually means he never passes the moral test set up by the movie in the first place.

So if you're going to see or have seen this movie, you know, I'm not going to hate on you; we all make compromises in our entertainment, and some we can live with and some we can't. I started this post the way I did to make it explicit that this movie offers me nothing that makes me happy in exchange for putting up with the bullshit, because action and flying dinosaurs don't make me happy and "the pretty" is not enough reason for me to watch a half-hour tv show, much less a nearly four hour movie that I have to pay $12 to see and then protect my heart from. But I would hope that you'd read the above essays and understand why this movie is making some people very angry.

Me, I find science fiction and fantasy to be so mired in race, gender, and sexuality issues, and so lacking in things that make me happy (like actually good dialogue or even plots that make people talking to each other matter) that I've become almost irreversibly cynical and pessimistic about the genres. To me, Avatar is an opportunity missed, sure, but one that I can't imagine wouldn't have been missed. For the last ten years the Rise of the Fanboy has led popular culture. Well, here we are. I hope you guys are happy.



*Exceptions: con/heist pics; gadget and/or competency porn like Iron Man; car chases (which is why I like Matrix II); spy movies which often incorporate all three.
jlh: Chibi of me in an apron with a cocktail glass and shaker. (privilege)
I'm going to make this very short.

If you're in SF/F fandom, or you are consuming SF/F content (especially books) and you haven't been following RaceFail'09 at all, I'm here to tell you that you should. Provided for you: Excellent summaries of the key events as well as a comprehensive list of links from [livejournal.com profile] rydra_wrong. Please don't say it's too much to take in; please don't say that you're sick of listening to people bitching about race; please don't say that this is your happy place and you don't want real world issues intruding. Or, if you do feel that way, then please defriend me. I don't care if you have anything to say about or don't, but if you don't care about the experience of fans of color in SF/F, and you're an SF/F fan, then you don't care about my experience, and I'd rather we just stop pretending.

The calls for people to speak out are, I think, more directed at people within the professional literary side of SF-F, than at white folks in fandom, and I'm not really expecting my flist to have all these eloquent things to say about race. But I do expect that you get interested in it, see what's been going on and try to follow it as best you can. It's a very large issue—much larger than the usual fandom imbroglios, because it touches on how professionals behave, how the content gets created, and who gets to talk about it. I, for one, would rather not have another conversation where I say, "so how about this racefail?" and I get "oh, I haven't been following, it's so long, la!" reply. Because that reply, I'm willing to say, is privileged; you aren't following because you don't think it has anything to do with you. And I'm here to say, it does.
jlh: Simon Cowell, with the word "FAIL (gents: Simon fail)
Some of you probably heard the outcry that rose up in Dr. Who fandom regarding the possibility of a black actor being cast as, what, 11 right? There's a bingo card and everything.

Well, now EW.com has reported that preliminary word is that the casting for the live action movie based on the animated show Avatar: The Last Airbender (the movie is called The Last Airbender because of another project called Avatar) will be all white actors. This despite the fact that the characters in the show are Asian or Inuit, and much of their cultural surroundings, though set in a fantasy universe, are from various Asian and Inuit cultures. I can't put into words how disappointing this is, but luckily a few others already have, such as the Angry Asian Man. Someone on [livejournal.com profile] deadbrowalking has already called for a bingo card; the free space will probably be "It's just a cartoon." As soon as that's made, I'll link to it.

A letter-writing campaign has been started, and I'm going to send one. So there's a little act of defiance for you.

And this is going to sound obnoxious to you, I know, but this is a place where I really, really just cannot understand the way that some genre fans, including some people I know personally, set their priorities. Having a bunch of characters shooting guns in space, or performing magic-tinged marshall arts, or anything that happens in some kind of alternate universe requiring world-building, is so important that they'll put up with the worst kinds of overt racism and sexism and heterosexism in the canon in order to get it. I know, boo-hoo, I'm harshing your squee but you see, my squee has already been harshed. I don't want to have to watch films where the only thing that female charactes do is represent home. I don't want to follow television shows where the blacks are aliens and the aliens are black, or where a person of color couldn't possibly time travel. I don't want the writers of a televsion show or a book to think they deserve a pat on the back for proclaiming that a character that is now dead in canon was gay all along but that fact just kinda never got mentioned. This is going to continue to be okay until you, genre fan on my friend list, decide that it isn't. I can't do much about it; I'm a colored girl so the white boys usually behind these decisions aren't interested in what I have to say. They expect me to be unhappy and are already ignoring me. And I'm not a real genre fan, either. But if I had a nickel for the number of times I've heard "yeah, that canon has issues, but the boys are cute and I don't want to think about it!" I'd be a wealthy lady. Well, change doesn't happen until and unless you demand it, and back it up with your dollars. It's a capitalist society, so the only power you really have is the power of your consumption or lack thereof.

And I'm going to put my money where my mouth is, too. I love romances and there used to be a bunch of little indy gay romantic comedies. Where did they go? I'm going to hunt them down and support them. And I'm also going to try to drag more of my white friends to movies with black leads and primarily black casts, like Talk to Me. So there you go, my goal for 2009: to support the sort of media that's doing a thing I feel is important with my money, and not support the media that isn't. That is my ultimate right as a consumer, after all.

I'm not advocating what you do with your money, only that you take a look at your own priorities, and then spend and consume accordingly, and most importantly, knowingly. Isn't this the twenty-first century? Let's all stop being passive media consumers.

seriously?

Oct. 31st, 2008 01:54 pm
jlh: Chibi of me in an apron with a cocktail glass and shaker. (privilege)
(I'm posting this here because I don't want to rant in the journal of a friend who is really only reporting what someone else said to them.)

Are we seriously telling each other that if Barack Obama loses on Tuesday that all the black neighborhoods in major cities in the US will go up in flames? Seriously? You're going to tell my (white, jewish) roommate to pack an overnight bag and head to her parents' house in the 'burbs because we live in a predominantly black area of Brooklyn?

Of course, you're assuming that I'll be safe as houses since I'm a colored girl, which might be why no one's said anything about this to me before now ...

You do know that the last time that really happened in multiple cities was when Dr. King was shot, right? And that there were predictions of it at various points later but it didn't really happen? I just ... I am apoplectic right now with rage. You're all like, yay Obama! and voting for him and shit, and you might be a friend of mine, because hey, Barack and I are only half black, and we're educated, and all that noise. But you know, them folks in the ghetto, when they don't get what they want, they goin' burn that city to da ground, I tell ya!

ETA: Okay, I just talked to my coworker D, a white guy, whose response to this was, "That's ridiculous, but if he loses, I'll go to Detroit and riot with them." This mysteriously made me feel a little better, and I am no longer shaking with rage. However, I continue to think that this is the most racist bullshit I've heard all month. Seriously.
jlh: Donyelle from So you think you can dance season 2 (ladies: Donnyelle)
This might need to be daily. This morning I got my identity crisis all over poor [livejournal.com profile] wordplay.

Strippers! Nose Jobs! Six Easy Ways To Explain Economic Disaster Includes:
1. The 'how this is playing out at the strip club' angle
2. The 'detestable rich people put off plastic surgery' angle
3. The ha ha ha, 'assets for sale on eBay' angle
4. The 'end of greed' angle
5. The 'America and/or capitalism is dead' angle
6. The 'Wall Street: It really does affect Main Street!' angle


Debate Prep: John McCain To Practice With One Black Guy He Knows. No, they're not making this up. In other "black people aren't like us" news, people apparently think Michelle Obama is more elitist than Hillary Clinton. You know, because she's a black woman who went to college and stuff.

ETA: Oh, and it also makes me feel a tiny bit better that Defamer didn't think Probst should win, either, and that Idolator doesn't like Duffy any more than I do.

One more: What do you think you need at 38?. I'm thinking friends, a roof, and a personality, myself.
jlh: Chibi of me in an apron with a cocktail glass and shaker. (Richard Ayoade)
I went to the market this morning, before it got too hot, and I shared the elevator to the Target with a "team member" who was bringing breakfast from McD's to her fellow "team members." When I was a teen, my ultimate McD's breakfast was a hash brown and a raspberry danish, and even though McD's no longer has the awesome danishes they did in the 80s (which they warmed for you by steaming them in their little plastic bag) the Enteman's danish tastes about the same. Sadly, you can't get it in a single serve and I really don't need an entire danish sitting in my fridge.

Anyway, while I was standing in the you-scan line at the Pathmark I saw the new August Ebony, the cover story of which is: "Black Cool: The 25 Coolest Brothers of All Time." They're doing eight different covers, but the one I saw was:



There's something about Obama as "black cool" that just makes me gleeful inside. The inside photo is more "I am an uplifting man" but that cover is very "I may be Tony Hawk." Anyway the list (thankfully not ranked) is:
Barack Obama Don Cheadle Billy Dee Williams Sidney Poitier Quincy Jones
Lenny Kravitz Jimi Hendrix Denzel Washington Richard Roundtree Sammy Davis Jr.
Bob Marley Ed Bradley Tupac Shakur Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Muhammad Ali
Gordon Parks Miles Davis Walt Frazier Shawn (Jay-Z) Carter Samuel L. Jackson
Malcolm X Snoop Dogg Prince Michael Jordan Marvin Gaye

And can I just say, Marvin is wearing totally bedazzled rolled-up jeans and work shirt, a spangly belt, a knit wool hat, and platform boots, and he still looks cool. I haven't bought Ebony in years (they pissed me off with a doctrinaire article on mixed race folks) but I had to grab this issue and, yeah. Anyone who's like, "oh I'm just not attracted to Black men" needs to flip through those 25 photos.
jlh: Chibi of me in an apron with a cocktail glass and shaker. (privilege)
I've been thinking about this for a few weeks now, and at one point hoped to get it done for the most recent PoC in SF Carnival #8, but for lots of reasons didn't, though my post does relate to its theme of intra-racial dialogues. In the wake of IBARW2, in which I participated, I joined [livejournal.com profile] deadbrowalking, and I've been reading everything that I get linked to, and I've had much more of a sense of myself as a FoC, a fan of color, and what that means to me, and what it means or can mean to others, and what I can use my voice for. I've been trying to use this time to STFU and listen, lest others sense that I have need for some pants. Check out the Carnival, because there are some truly excellent posts in there, without which I don't think I could have clarified my own thoughts.

There's been a debate lately about the word "queer" and who gets to use it and who doesn't and in what circumstances. I'm not interested in commenting directly on that, but in one of the earlier posts that kicked off the debate [livejournal.com profile] hth_the_first said in part:
Queerness is the turf of queer fans, not of slashers. You know who gets to say what's so totally gay? Gay people. Not that they will always agree with each other! Not that they will always *disagree* with what straight people think. But the thing is, people who are saturated in queerness and spend our lives thinking about the queer issues -- guys, we get to be the voice of what's SO GAY.
I found myself translating this statement into one about race—who gets to say what is SO BLACK?—and there were a lot of differences that stood out to me.

As a biracial woman, a lot of my experience with race has been one of customization for myself, and then realizing how much customization everyone else is also doing, even while the "community" maintains a unified front for political reasons. So for me, running around claiming the authority over what is SO BLACK feels presumptuous.

But more importantly, or at least, less personally, the SO GAY claim and the SO BLACK claim work in very different ways in fandom, because for slashers SO GAY is positive, while the SO BLACK claim seems to be problematic—see the recent conversations about SGA to see what I mean. The issue isn't one of those who are not black pointing at something and claiming it to be black, but one of those who are not black refusing to accept the PoC fans pointing at something and claiming it to be black. Either way, the voices of those who might claim authority are being ignored or discounted. Either way, as noted in [livejournal.com profile] ciderpress's excellent essay (which to my mind should be required reading), the conversation is being controlled by the ones with the privilege.

And it's really to [livejournal.com profile] ciderpress, who asks how to get out of this box we're in, that I have a response: we don't shut up. We just keep writing. We just keep throwing ourselves against that wall. Maybe the goal isn't to get the poster of the story with wanky race issues, or the meta that tried to work to ignore sexuality, to get the message, as [livejournal.com profile] witchqueen noted in her recent posts about tone. Maybe it isn't even to get the third parties to get the message, as I'd thought at the time.

Maybe it's to remind our fellow non-privileged fen, be they FoC, or queer, or something else (I know some work on class is starting here and there), that they do have a voice, do belong in fandom, do get to speak up when their own squee is being harshed. After all, isn't one of the singular things about LJ fandom that it is a primarily female space, a safe space away from sometimes-condescending fanboys? A lot of talk has gone into the feeling of community, of having a place to speak up and be heard in the same language, that [livejournal.com profile] deadbrowalking has brought, that [livejournal.com profile] metafandom has brought just because fans from different fandoms can see everything going on, and as new as that is, that has to count for something.
jlh: Chibi of me in an apron with a cocktail glass and shaker. (Default)
Because I haven't regularly posted in a while.

Rec of the month: [livejournal.com profile] choc_fic. It's a fest of writing about characters of color, multifandom, and there has been a lot of great fic. There's a bunch of stuff in fandoms I don't follow at all (mostly comics) and plenty of media stuff, even some L&O slash. I'm working on something for it, myself, in my OTP of course. Check it out!

On meta harshing your squee: No one said you had to click on every link on [livejournal.com profile] metafandom. You get to take mental breaks to stop worrying and just enjoy. Also, please to remember that the reason that many people post about these issues is that the issue itself harshed their squee. So bitching back that by speaking out they're harshing yours is just obnoxious, and doubly silencing.

On the Red Sox: Wait, so after sweeping the series with us (woe!) the Yankees went on to split 1-2 with Tampa Bay? Tampa Bay? Also: Let's go Mets!

On fanfic writing: I just worked out how to write something that I've been thinking about for a while. Isn't it exciting when that little switch flips and it all becomes clear? I find that happens in my academic work, too. And then you get all fired up to get moving on it.

Speaking of which, I've had a fairly productive day for once, which rocks.

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jlh: Chibi of me in an apron with a cocktail glass and shaker. (Default)
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