Looper

Sep. 30th, 2012 09:47 pm
laceblade: Kumiko and Reina from Hibike! Euphonium anime, apparently about to kiss (Arthur!Spider-Man)
Fucking loved it.

You can tell that Rian Johnson watches anime, in my opinion.

spoilers )



I wanted to link to this post by [personal profile] thingswithwings about the labeling of certain foods as "healthy" and cultural messages about food. The comments are both thoughtful and staggering when taken as a whole.
laceblade: Kevin McHale & Harry Shum Jr., screenshot from their remake of "Scream" music video (Glee scream)
Although I haven't published much fanfiction that I can point my finger at, I have been fairly open about the fact that I'm working on a long Glee fanfiction with people who are not in fandom.

My mom knows, as do a few other members of my family (including a cousin who I hope might actually read it once posted). So do a couple of my co-workers, including one who is trying to understand more about fandom, even if she seems uninterested in being part of it (so far).

Sometimes when people learn that I've invested a 20k word count already, their reaction is, "Why don't you write some actual/real/original fiction?"

Is there a canned short response that can be given to such questions?
"Because this is the story that I want to tell right now" ?
"To me, this is valuable fiction. I like reading it and I want to contribute and write something too" ?

It's important to me to not just brush off the question because it would be cool for people to know how important fanfiction can be, but it's hard to summarize it in a way that doesn't lose people's interest, I think.
So far, though, I'm a lot better at talking this way about politics than I am about fandom - in a way that answers the question but doesn't mock people for not being part of it, or for giving a fuck, which is totally valid.
What do you say?
laceblade: Kumiko and Reina from Hibike! Euphonium anime, apparently about to kiss (Catholic)
I don't usually love Maureen Dowd, but I've gotta say that every time in the last two weeks that I've wanted to write a blog post about how much I despise Benedict XVI and the priests who represent the face of Catholicism to the world, she goes ahead and does it for me. It's just...UGH. IT IS HOLY WEEK, SIR. HAVE A LITTLE HUMILITY. Instead of saying shit like "We will overcome the people who are being mean to me right now!" How about saying, "I crawl on my knees and ask forgiveness for the horrible things I've done. AND NOW PEOPLE WILL GO TO JAIL FOR WHAT THEY DID."
I also liked A Nope for Pope.

I am so disgusted right now.

And the next time that someone asks me, "Why are you still Catholic?" or "How do you feel about that?" they will get kicked in the neck.

I FEEL REALLY GOOD ABOUT CHILDREN GETTING MOLESTED, THANKS FOR ASKING.

When congressmen molest boys, nobody says, "Shit, I'm going to stop being American!"
Nobody says, "Wow, doesn't that make you want to stop feeling patriotic?"
Nobody says, "Wow, so Mark Foley molested a boy. How do you feel about that?"
Because those questions are absurd and the answers are self-evident.

But when the situation is about a different aspect of someone's identity - their faith - THAT SHIT IS TOTALLY DIFFERENT, and it's okay to be abhorrently inappropriate.



.....OR IS IT?!
laceblade: Kumiko and Reina from Hibike! Euphonium anime, apparently about to kiss (Default)
The last couple of days have been filled with anger, for me.

One involves a situation beyond my control, but leaves me feeling vulnerable and cheated by a faceless bureaucracy. Of course it will get sorted out for my personal situation, but it only reinforces my adamant belief that health care should be a right for every single person, and not a classist privilege accessible only to those who manage to find a full-time job or can afford to pay for their own health care out of pocket. What does it say about our society, if you can only gain access to medicine and technology that will make/keep you healthy if you have the money to pay for it? Isn't it bad enough for the unemployed or under-employed that they make very little money? Must we punish them further, by telling them that they don't deserve to be healthy? That, in some cases, they deserve to die?

And people truly argue about this? Fail.


I've also been thinking a lot about people in positions of power.

If you are in a position of power, and you see that the people over whom you exert power - the sheep of your flock, if you will - are not doing what they're supposed to be doing, which of the following do you think is the proper response to make your flock more functional?

A) Blame them for not knowing better (and be sure to blame other people for not teaching them better, willfully ignoring your own position of power at the moment).

B) Mock them while surrounding yourself with people who agree with you.

C) Ostracize them by making them feel ashamed or guilty, so as not to taint your tiny Type A flock of "true sheep."

D) Complain about them and how they are the reason that the group is failing as a whole. Make sure to not actually speak to them, tell them what you think what went wrong, or perform any action items to rectify what went wrong.

E) Point out to them what went wrong, and ask them what you can do with your position of power to ensure that it does not happen again.



On a lighter note, a friend of mine recently told me that she thought my Internet alias was "My Stick Eeper." I've had this alias for 8 years, and I never thought about it that way. It's supposed to be "Mystic Keeper," by the way; huzzah for aliases created at age 14.

If people want to start calling me "The Stick," though, I am okay with that.
laceblade: Kumiko and Reina from Hibike! Euphonium anime, apparently about to kiss (Default)
Friend [livejournal.com profile] nylorac15 would like to ask us [me and you LJ friends of mine] what we think of this article from today's Christian Science Monitor from a feminist perspective (or, any other perspective you have to offer).

I have many opinions, but I'll start with the fact that I find it problematic that this "consultant and former presidential speechwriter" only cites one one study in his article (and even then, not very specifically).

If more women had been in charge of things, I'm certain that we could just as easily have entered our current financial crisis. God knows lots of us are greedy jerks, too.

The author takes many behaviors and ascribes them to being biologically ascribed, as opposed to socially constructed. I don't really agree with his sentiment, or would at the least need data to be convinced.

The difference could be evolutionary. Primordial hunters (men) had to make rapid decisions and act on them, right or wrong, but quickly. Chase that bunny! Club that rival! Run away! Gatherers (women), meanwhile, needed an awareness of the larger context – knowing which berry bushes would ripen when, how to keep the kids from clonking each other with rocks, and generally holding the tribe together and getting things done.

:[

His conclusion is hopeful, but is it really related to gender, or to people learning how to be less bastardly?

By example, they will teach us to lead less through positional authority and more through positive influence- with more of a bias toward informed action and a clearer connection between everything we know, and all we have to do.



What do you think?
laceblade: Kumiko and Reina from Hibike! Euphonium anime, apparently about to kiss (Default)
Ugh, the last couple of days have sucked a lot. I have a midterm at 11:00 today, and I'll be glad when it's over. It'll probably be scary, though. I was all settled in to study last night, and then, of course, I fell asleep until 2:30am. I then studied until 3:30 and went to sleep. And now I feel exhausted. It just sucks. I'm probably about as prepared for the midterm as I would be anyway, but I had really wanted to work on a paper that I have due Monday, as today I'll get a take-home exam emailed to me, and will then have two things to worried about.

I just hope that I can get a lot done tomorrow at work.

I received the grades for the presentation and paper I've done already in my Women in Medieval Literature class, and they were both really good. Now, though, I'm afraid to get my Women's Studies midterm back. The last thing I need is a confidence-destroyer right before my other English midterm!

Bahhhh. At least half my classes were canceled today, for reasons unbeknownst to me. So while Thursday's usually suck, today I'll hopefully actually be able to get a draft of a paper written, and outline the take-home thingie.

The more time that goes by, the more anxious I get about figuring out plans for after graduation, but of course I don't have time to deal with that right now. I really hate that when you're 17-22, the questions people always, always ask you are always the same: "Where are you going to college?" Then, once that's figured out, "What's your major? Ohhhhh....so what are you going to do with that?" Then, once that's figured out, "So what are you going to do after you graduate?" And always, at all of these points, there's the question, "So are you dating anyone?" Because if you're not, there's clearly something wrong with you! Society is stupid. Lately, I dislike conversing with anyone and kind of wish that all I ever had to do was read books all day. So much more enjoyable.

Yeah, guess who needs more sleep?

WTF

Oct. 1st, 2007 10:02 pm
laceblade: Kumiko and Reina from Hibike! Euphonium anime, apparently about to kiss (Default)
From here.

Thousands of protesters are dead and the bodies of hundreds of executed monks have been dumped in the jungle, a former intelligence officer for Burma's ruling junta has revealed.

The most senior official to defect so far, Hla Win, said: "Many more people have been killed in recent days than you've heard about. The bodies can be counted in several thousand."

And not only were these Buddhist monks murdered and dumped into mass-graves, but it was done under cover, and after the government had cut off the Internet. The government imposed a curfew under the guise of "maintaining order," but its actual purpose was so that the bodies of Buddhist monks could be removed from their monasteries and dumped elsewhere.

The BBC's latest article says that 10 people have been killed so far.

The New York Times has yet to say anything about this particular atrocity.

And right now, the most-read article on CNN.com is Britney Spears losing custody of her children.

What the fuck is the matter with people?

EDIT: The BBC reports with everything it can verify.
Sylvester Stallone and those filming a "Rambo" sequel encounter evidence of the atrocities on the Myanmar border.
laceblade: Kumiko and Reina from Hibike! Euphonium anime, apparently about to kiss (Default)
Firstly, The New York Times has finally written about the Jena 6. (If you don't have an account with the New York Times, you can get one for free with a .edu email address) If you have not been informed about the Jena 6 case, you definitely should read about it. It's hard to believe that stuff like this still happens. Racism sucks. :(

I would apologize for not blogging for a few days, but I actually posted a Friends-locked post on my LJ between this post and my last public post. Too bad you blog-readers can't read it! You should all get LiveJournals, and then you can see the entries where the real shit goes down, :) Really, though I don't like to get too detailed about work or school in public places on the interwebs.

I gave a presentation today in a class! Hopefully it didn't suck. It was the first major assignment that I've had due so far. I'm going home to see my family next weekend, and for this I am excited. It's been a while since I've actually been home - there was the Family Reunion, but that was a bit south of home, and my family came here to Madison to visit me one weekend, but I think that I haven't actually been home since July? Wow, has it really been that long? Needless to say, I'm excited. I might even be able to ask off of work and go home Thursday night....although it would be a complete and utter betrayal not to stay and watch the season premiere of The Office first.

The season premiere of Avatar: The Last Airbender is tomorrow, and I'm pretty excited. Oooh! Maybe when I'm home next week, I can watch it with Dylan! (6-year-old nephew) When did I become such a TV-consumer? I'm excited for Avatar, Heroes, The Office, Grey's Anatomy, and I would be for Battlestar Galactica if it was coming back before JANUARY. I also kind of want to check out The Bionic Woman (Katee Sackhoff is in it!) and Private Practice, the Grey's Anatomy spin-off.

Anyway. Time for bed.
laceblade: Kumiko and Reina from Hibike! Euphonium anime, apparently about to kiss (Default)
UW campus' Student Organization Fair was tonight, and I feel ready to die from exhaustion. For most of the night, I was the only one at the table, which was sad, :( I like doing it, though. I have two and a half pages of names and email addresses to write to some time tomorrow.

The Fair was a bit different this year, though. Instead of having each student org share a table with another one, and cramming us all into different parts of Memorial Union, this year everything was very spaced out at the Kohl Center, which was nice. It was a lot easier to see the flow of people going by, though. As anime becomes more popular, the stereotype of a "typical" anime fan being a person who is socially awkward and very "geeky" by appearance is becoming less valid. Of course, many people like this exist, and I am glad that Anime Club is a place for them to come and make friends at college, and feel comfortable.

But it still pisses me off that others can be so judgmental about anime as a genre. I understand it's cartoons, but whatever. When you are with a group of friends, and stop walking, look at the table full of comic books and DVD cases, and then look at me, and walk over, and are barely controlling your laughter as you ask me how the Club works while you periodically glance back at your friends with CAN YOU BELIEVE PEOPLE LIKE THIS EXIST faces, and I explain it, are you not being the least bit childish? Do you think that I am not, in fact, fully aware of the fact that you have some weird perception that I have no friends, or don't realize you're laughing at me? Do you think I don't know that your friends just dared you to come over and talk to me? BECAUSE LET ME TELL YOU, I AM AWARE. Hi, I showered this morning, too! And I put on mascara just like you did. I also like going out for drinks with my friends! BUT PLEASE JUDGE ME BECAUSE I LIKE CUTE THINGS AND WELL-WRITTEN STORIES. Bitches. At least one of my Club cohorts consoled me by extrapolating the probability of one of them getting an STD in the next month.

Apparently, there is another anime club that started up this year, too. At first I was very much, "WTF, let's take them DOWN," but then I investigated their booth. An Asian girl was cosplaying adorably as Chii, from Chobits. It seems like their focus is on analyzing the role of anime in culture, and holding contests for people who draw their own stuff. They actually sent a representative over to our table, and we exchanged emails and agreed to advertise for one another for special events, such as said contests. They seem really nice, and hey - if there are ways for more people to enjoy anime, then all the better, right?

This year, it seemed like a lot more international students stopped by the table this year. There were a lot of mixed-gender crowds, in which guys would stop and look on as the girls would totally freak out, shouting, "Waiiiii! NANA! Hachimitsu! Faruba!" Some of them listened when I explained how to sign up to get an explanatory email, while others ignored me entirely, just grabbing volumes of manga and shaking them at their friends with expressions of disbelief.

All in all, it was a good time. I met lots of new people, and hopefully they'll show up this Saturday for Club. A lot of people who weren't freshmen seemed heartened when we explained that we were trying to make the Club more socially-focused, and less like a living room in which people came, watched, and left.
laceblade: Kumiko and Reina from Hibike! Euphonium anime, apparently about to kiss (Default)
I really do intend to blog a lot more often than I do. But by the time it gets to be the time of day that I have time to blog, I am despondent and know that if I blog, I will sound whiny. Such is the case right now, but I will proceed anyway.

Of course, you all might want to know how I win against my slings and arrows: it is by going to Antoine's house and demanding that he cuddle with me.
"Your face is in my armpit."
"It's warm here," I say, pulling his arm down so it drapes around my neck.
"Your nose feels cold."
"It is!" I say, pulling down his arm again, so that it covers my neck (which is cold!)
"Jackie, I'm trying to put my glasses on!"
"Oh." And then we giggled a lot.

Also! Antoine threw a blanket on me, because I was cold.
"Thank you, Antoine! You're so nice to me! I like you!"
"Yeah!"
".....This blanket is cold."
"Tough!"
"I hate you! You're so mean to me!"

Tomorrow is September 11th, and I can still never understand why every year, people will say things like, "Never forget" or "Remember September 11th." I would like to say to these people, "Thank you. I think I would have forgotten that September 11th happened, if you hadn't just reminded me." I mean, really. Can't these people urge people to remember something they might have actually forgotten about? To brush their teeth? That the United States has a lot of poor people? I don't know. There are a lot of things that people do that I don't understand.

Anime Club started this weekend, and it was good. On the morning of, I really didn't want to go because The Flaming Lips were going to be playing at a free outside concert (Antoine and a couple of his friends went and I was so jealous), and I was afraid that I would have a horrible time at Club, but it turned out that I didn't.

During the last month or so of summer, we had a couple of meetings to decide to restructure the way the entire Anime Club is run, and to make it a better tool for socializing. I think last night went really well. There was more conversation in the main room than I've ever heard, anyway. It's difficult to get anti-social people to talk to one another, but somehow it was accomplished. The only thing that sucked was that less people than we usually get on a first night were present, and some people who are students who still go to school here just didn't show up. It's really disheartening, because I and other people have put so much thought into changing the Club for the better, and then they don't give it a chance. Oh well, though - I can only ever control myself, so I shouldn't worry about it.

Anyway. I am exhausted, and I still didn't finish everything that I had intended to finish today. It has grown cold outside, and it finally feels like autumn. This is good news to me, as a humid, hot summer in Madison has solidified in my mind, once and for all, that autumn is my favorite season.

Our mail hasn't come since last week Friday, and I am anxious to receive my Buffy DVD from Netflix. Stupid postal service.
laceblade: Kumiko and Reina from Hibike! Euphonium anime, apparently about to kiss (Default)
So. I've been complaining to Chad lately about how some people suck at feminism, and I feel the need to explain some things to the world (which is clearly best done by writing in my blog).

I will start with a hypothetical situation. We'll start with Chad - Chad has lived across the street from my house since birth, and is now a roommate of mine. I went through all of my schooling with Chad, and I am really hard-pressed to think of a single person who disliked him. He is a quintessential nice guy - the popular people liked him, the band kids liked him, the choir kids liked him, those marginalized for various reasons liked him. It is why Chad's/my plan for world domination mean Chad will run for political office, and eventually president, and I will be his chief of staff. He is well on his way, having now entered his first year of law school.

I digress. So, Chad, our quintessential nice guy (he is an eagle scout), when encountering a person of the opposite sex performing some act of manual labor will offer to complete the task for them. In Chad's mind, he is doing it because he is nice. When describing such mentalities, he uses the word "chivalrous." In his mind, it is honorable and right tell a girl, "You don't have to do that. I can do it instead."

I know that I can't speak for every woman, so I will speak only for myself. When a task involving manual labor needs to be completed, and it is sensible for me to be the one to complete the task - either because it is part of my job description, or because I would benefit from the task being completed - I see no reason why I should not do it. When I am told by a man, "I can do that instead of you doing it," I feel like I am being told, I can do this job better than you can or You are incapable of performing this job adequately. I feel this way even when people such as Chad are the ones to make the suggestion. Even when I know that people such as Chad have the best of intentions. Because what is behind that intention? A socialized mentality that men are "built for" physical labor, while women are not. It is not Chad's fault that he has been socialized in such a way, but the socialization process he went through does effect how he interacts with and treats other people. This is true of all people, especially men. It is possible to be sexist - to say sexist things - without being a mean person.

In fact, when having the conversation about whether or not I could blog about it, he tried to justify his position as righteous by saying, "I would help an elderly person cross the street." He quickly recanted, saying that that was a bad analogy, but it's still what came to mind first - and it really is a telling analogy. Comparing an elderly person, who is feeble and frail, to a woman who is striving to, say, cut the lawn. Making a comparison implies that it is beyond her limits for the woman to complete a task that requires muscular strength to perform.

None of this is to say that Chad is a bad person - verily, Chad is one of my best friends, and I think he is a very good person. The intention of this blog post is to show that sometimes, even without meaning to, a person (and it is not always a man - women do it all the time, too) can be sexist. This also applies to racism: Without trying to, a well-meaning person can say something racist. It doesn't mean you are now an enemy of all people of color, or of all women. All it means is that you should try to pay more attention to what you're saying, and why you're saying it. Similarly, if you benefit from privilege - if you are male, or if you are white, you need to do a really good job of listening. It can be really hard for a woman, or a person of color, to bring it up when they encounter sexism or racism with their friends, in class, in the workplace, or at the store. They are afraid of not being taken seriously, of angering people they care about and/or respect, and afraid of their words having no effectiveness.

So, listen - listen for subtle cues. Listen for when people hesitate, look for when people have fleeting looks of anger. Listen for where someone goes into a defensive mode by using a sarcastic quip or silence, and ask yourself why they're doing it, and if it might be something you did or said.

It's difficult to shift your mind into thinking in such a way if you're not used to doing it, but once you do, you'll be surprised at what you see and hear. Why is the default pronoun always "he"? Why is every class that I have contain a sea of white faces? Why do people of a certain color tend to ride on certain bus line, while people of another color tend to ride other certain bus lines? What areas of town do these bus lines go to - upscale or down? Why?

Most of all: if someone accuses you of being sexist or racist, the first thing you need to tell yourself is: "CALM DOWN." Chill out. Ask them why. Apologize. Tell them you did not intend to be offensive. But most of all, take their explanation seriously, and think about it for a while, even after the conversation is over. And try not to do it again.

It really is that simple!
laceblade: Kumiko and Reina from Hibike! Euphonium anime, apparently about to kiss (Default)
People who pretentiously think that they are God's gift to human insight, but actually are quite offensive, awkward, and suck in conversation, are SO LOL to talk to. It's the amusing things in life that get me through the day.

Pwntastic!
Today, a fellow Bleak House intern and I went to the Willy Street Co-op for lunch, and holy crap, it was amazing! I have been to the Regent Street Co-Op, but Regent is tiny compared to this place. It was so nice. They have some delicious prepared foods, too, so you could go there just for a meal, and be satisfied! So much love. Do it!

I was hella productive today. In addition to going to my internship and reading two volumes of manga, I reserved rooms for the next school year for Anime Club, called my mom, bought groceries, cooked and ate dinner, cleaned the bathroom hardcore, washed dishes, AND spent about an hour pulling weeds out of the lawn/attacking them with a hoe. By the time I finished pulling them, it was already dark outside, so actually mowing the lawn will have to wait. Still, I feel very accomplished, considering how many weeds were in our yard. My legs still feel a little wobbly, though.

Weekend Stuff!
I saw the movie "Stardust" Saturday morning, and I liked it very much. Of course I did - it's based on a story by Neil Gaiman, one of my most favorite authors. The movie is a fantasy, a comedy, and a romance. Gaiman tends to defy genres like that. A lot of reviews I've read on Netflix have some people sounding upset - "I thought this movie was a fantasy, but then there was comedy! And what's with the romance?!" OMG SOMEONE STIRRED THE GENRE POT! Personally, I like it when multiple things are mixed together like that.

Saturday, I went to Antoine's place, where his roommate, The Hammer, was grilling. I brought some steak that has been in my freezer (a gift from Mom!) for some time now. They were delicious, as was all the other food that was made. After that, Antoine, The Hammer, Steph (who is back in Madison now! But unfortunately imprisoned in the dorms doing RA training), and I drove out past Middleton to see the Perseid Meteor Shower. We pulled off the highway and just laid down on the pavement of a side road. It was mostly nice - the pavement was warm. Unfortunately, there was a bit of a haze in the sky, so despite having a New Moon last night, we didn't see as many meteors as I would have liked. Still, we saw enough that it was definitely worth it. There were one or two that were brilliantly bright. I would like to drive out and go star-gazing more often. I can't find much in the sky at the moment. The stuff that I can pick out of the sky is limited to Taurus (and in it, I can pick out the Pleiades and Aldeberan), Orion, the Big Dipper, Cassiopeia, and Polaris. I'd like to know more!

Current Events!
Former Wisconsin governor Tommy Thompson has dropped out of the 2008 presidential race. I find it odd that he did so by citing his loss in the Iowa Straw Poll as his reason. Does anyone take that too seriously? It costs $35 to vote in it, and candidates literally foot the bill to bus in their supporters. Lame excuse, in my opinion.

I think that this is the most disgusting information I've read in a news article for a while now. In efforts to "clean up" the city's image so that the Olympic Games can be held there, the city conducted a "census" of its homeless population, and came up with the result of "24" being its total. That's right - according to the city's census, there are only 24 homeless people in all of Chicago. This is offensive on many fronts, one of which is because City Hall conducted the census under the pretense of assisting those people who are homeless into getting housing, etc. How can they be helped, if city officials are pretending that they do not exist? Homeless people are still people. Are the city officials embarrassed by the fact that homeless people exist, or are they ashamed of the fact that so little is done to help them?
laceblade: Kumiko and Reina from Hibike! Euphonium anime, apparently about to kiss (Default)
So, there's been lots of wankery over at LiveJournal because of the staff permanently banning some people from their site because of Harry Potter fanart they drew. The art in question depicts fictional minors engaging in sexual acts.

I won't say whether or not I support such things, although I will point out that we're talking about 17-year-old minors (OF FICTIONAL CHARACTERS DRAWN WITH PRISMACOLOR MARKERS), and not 8-year-olds.

Regardless. Today, LiveJournal posted this response about how they must punish users who violate their terms of service, which includes, "content that is unlawful, harmful, abusive, obscene, hateful, or racially, ethnically or otherwise objectionable."

One user comments with an excellent point: If LiveJournal is so keen on banning everyone who violates their terms of service when it is reported, then why do they not ban the many extremely disturbing pro-anorexia communities that are on LiveJournal? These are communities in which members encourage one another to not eat, and to lose weight when they are already underweight. Among other things, LiveJournal's response included:
We fully recognize that anorexia is harmful and that these communities are dedicated to maintaining a lifestyle that has the potential to cause harm.

Suspending pro-anorexia communities will not make anyone suffering from the disorder become healthy again.


Anorexia has only "the potential" to cause harm? Even if one suffering from it doesn't kill themselves, I can't think of a way in which a person would suffer from it and not experience emotional and mental trauma.

As for the latter point, while it's true that suspending communities that are pro-anorexia will not make anyone healthy again, the point also stands that suspending users on LiveJournal who draw fanart that happens to be erotic will not stop instances of child molestation from occurring. Pornography is not illegal. Maybe some people are unhappy about it, but that's the way it is. And, as Avenue Q will tell you, some people feel that the Internet is for porn! It is certainly easy to find on the Internet. I just don't understand how the staff at LiveJournal and Six Apart can build straw dummies so as to uphold one part of their Terms of Service, and expect the rest of us not to notice how much they utterly fail at enforcing their rules where it matters - where the violation of their terms of service produces real, tangible harm. I mean, if I'm anorexic and I find this community of people just like me, who tell me that my illness is okay, who in fact encourage me to harm myself, I'm going to go out on a limb and say that the community is harmful.

Really, while it is fascinating to watch the users of an Internet website and its maintainers struggle over what is and is not okay to be placed on the website, it does leave me feeling a bit hopeless for the realm of Internet law as a whole.
laceblade: Kumiko and Reina from Hibike! Euphonium anime, apparently about to kiss (Default)
LOLOL. There are so many things that I would like to write about! So many! But, this deserves its very own entry, all to its self.

Thai police officers who break rules will be forced to wear hot pink armbands featuring "Hello Kitty," the Japanese icon of cute, as a mark of shame, a senior officer said Monday.


I HAVE A HOT PINK HELLO KITTY ARM BAND, TOO! But, their armband sounds cuter.

The striking armband features Hello Kitty sitting atop two hearts.


The full article is here.
laceblade: Kumiko and Reina from Hibike! Euphonium anime, apparently about to kiss (Default)
I consider myself to be a religious person, although I don't really bring my faith up very often in conversation (although, once some people find out that I'm Catholic, they assume that I agree with every single tenet of Catholicism, and will grill me about why the Church believes what it believes). Still, I don't really believe in divine providence. I don't believe God is controlling all of us with puppet strings, breaking our hearts to "teach us lessons," and making sure that "there is always a way."

But I still laugh when divine justice happens. I've decided that having celebrity gossip pervade the media is totally okay when the celebrities are getting owned.

  • Grey's Anatomy star Isaiah Washington (Dr. Preston Burke) has been kicked off the show for anti-gay remarks made against T.R. Knight (George O'Malley). The best part of the story (which is now often left out) is that Patrick Dempsey (McDreamy, Dr. Derek Shepherd) told him to 'fuck off' when it happened. I really love that Katherine Heigl (Izzie Stevens, my favorite) stuck up for Knight in public. DIVINE JUSTICE: People who are homophobic and are mean to their co-workers lose their jobs. YES.
LOS ANGELES, California (AP) -- Screaming and crying, Paris Hilton was escorted out of a courtroom and back to jail Friday after a judge ruled that she must serve out her entire 45-day sentence behind bars rather than in her Hollywood Hills home.

"It's not right!" shouted the weeping Hilton, who violated her probation in a reckless driving case. "Mom!" she called out to her mother in the audience.

Hilton, who was brought to court in handcuffs in a sheriff's car, came into the courtroom disheveled and weeping, hair askew, sans makeup, wearing a gray fuzzy sweatshirt over slacks.

She cried throughout the hearing, her body shook constantly and she dabbed at her eyes. Several times she turned to her parents, seated behind her in the courtroom, and mouthed, "I love you."

I just don't understand how can anybody could say "it isn't right" for them to pay for breaking the law. Like, me personally, I was upset with myself for getting a speeding ticket, but I'm not about to say that it isn't fair or undeserved. I was speeding. I got caught. The end. Things that "aren't right" would include, I don't know, children starving to death and innocent people being murdered.

Please, God, let this happen in Wisconsin while I'm working.

Anyway, last night was fun. After work, we went out to a couple of bars because one of my bosses will have his last day sometime next week, and then leave for Afghanistan for a year. I love my co-workers. One of the coolest, most fun group of people I've had the pleasure of spending time with. Even if they make fun of my self-purported claim, in a high-pitched voice, "But I am badass."
laceblade: Kumiko and Reina from Hibike! Euphonium anime, apparently about to kiss (Default)
Firstly, a news flash. [livejournal.com profile] yhlee's LiveJournal has apparently been deleted (presumably as part of this massive journal deletion crap), but I definitely know that I was looking at her journal on the 30th, and possibly early morning on the 31st? I thought LiveJournal was done deleting journals, and trying to rectify the situation? Does anyone know what happened to Yoon?

Making War on "War"

Politics, Race, Class, and Religion•Conference Room 4• Saturday, 9:00-10:15 p.m.

Every time we are faced with a serious situation, we Americans have to make a War of it: (i.e., the Wars on Poverty, Drugs, Obesity, and Terror) despite the fact that "victory" continues to elude us. We even have to "battle" disease with "magic bullets". Why are we so taken with war as our default metaphor for action? How does that limit our problem solving approach? What might we replace it with? What metaphors have other cultures turned to? And how might we popularize a change?

M: Jean Mornard, Paul Kincaid, Chris Nakashima-Brown, Wendy Alison Walker, Laurel Winter

----------------

Before I say anything else, I will note that the panel description defines 'we' as Americans, and thus the focus was on the English language and metaphors. It was defined as such in the panel description, so I didn't feel too weird about it. Also, I feel like I remember panels differently than others. Mostly, all I write down are things that I found interesting. So, if you don't agree....too bad!

As both an English major and a Political Science major, this panel was like my dream come true. Nerdglee.

Here are my notes. )

All in all, it was a good panel. The only thing that bothered me was that there was a lot of anti-Republican sentiment, or at least I got the sense that many panelists and people in the room blamed conservatives for the "war" metaphors being so prevalent to begin with, which I don't think is a fair statement. Hello, Lyndon Johnson? I actually feel like this is something I could have argued about with some competence, but after thinking about it for 3 seconds, I figured that if there's one thing a person doesn't do at a feminist sci-fi convention, it's try to defend Republicans, ;) (And no, I don't consider myself Republican.) Also, it wasn't really relevant to the focus of the panel, and I dislike it very much when the conversation topic shifts away from a panel's focus.

Recommended Media:
The Power of Nightmares: The Rise of the Politics of Fear - BBC documentary
laceblade: Kumiko and Reina from Hibike! Euphonium anime, apparently about to kiss (Default)
Cultural Appropriation Revisited Part One

Politics, Race, Class, and Religion•Senate B• Saturday, 2:30-3:45 p.m.

As part of an ongoing discussion of the issue of cultural appropriation, this year's panel will address what is perhaps the most controversial, and certainly the most discussed, aspect of cultural appropriation in fiction: the use or exploitation of cultures across racial, ethnic, or national lines. Writers and activists who concern themselves in their work with issues of dominant and marginal cultures will discuss the use in narrative of markers and artifacts of cultures that are not the authors' own. Should this be done at all? Where do the limits fall? How is it well done and how poorly done? Sponsored by the Carl Brandon Society.

M: Candra Gill, M. J. Hardman, Yoon Ha Lee, Nnedi Nkemdili Okorafor-Mbahu, Victor Jason Raymond

----------------

First of all, I highly recommend you read up on what happened last year, at Wiscon 30. To my knowledge, has compiled the most complete list of posts that have been referred to as a "blog war." Essentially, the same panel was present at Wiscon last year, but instead of focusing on the prescribed topic, it declined into a conversation about white people and their guilt. [livejournal.com profile] rilinaHer link roundup is here, and she was even kind enough to put everything in chronological order.

Before I write my notes on the panels, I will say that I am white and don't have a lot of experience talking about race with others. If I say something that pisses you off, please tell me. I promise that I won't accuse you of being racist (wtf), deny the fact that white culture exists, or tell you that you're imagining things. Seriously. Tell me.

----------------

I don't have anything to say about this panel that hasn't already been said.

There is also a fairly elaborate transcript here.

You should also read [livejournal.com profile] oyceter's writeup.

Book Recommendation:
Mindscape, Andrea Harrison

----------------

Cultural Appropriation Revisited Part Two: Facilitated Discussion

Politics, Race, Class, and Religion•Senate B• Saturday, 4:00-5:15 p.m.

The panel on cultural appropriation at WisCon last year raised issues that were hotly discussed online, and the panel that this forum follows is likely to do the same. This open forum is meant to give you the chance to explore these issues and how they matter to you. Through passionate discussion we can improve our awareness and find the common understanding that lies beneath our disagreements. The open forum will be facilitated by Alan Bostick, who has been practicing Worldwork since 2003. Worldwork is a process-oriented approach to group facilitation and conflict developed by psychologist Arnold Mindell (author of Sitting in the Fire and The Deep Democracy of Open Forums) and collaborators. Attendees are strongly urged to also attend the immediately preceding panel discussion on cultural appropriation.

M: Alan Bostick

----------------

I was a little skeptical about the "process-oriented approach to group facilitation and conflict," but I thought that Bostick was a good moderator in terms of getting people to say what they meant, and clarifying issues for both the speaker and the group as a whole. I don't feel like he lead the conversation in any direction in particular, but rather helped people to not dissolve into screaming matches.

I was disappointed that so many people left after Part 1, and didn't stay for Part 2. I know it's a Con, people had places to be, and these things happen - but still.

And really, looking at my notes, I didn't take many. I'm sorry. It was just a weird, uncomfortable conversation. I am going to cop out and say that for details on the panel, read [livejournal.com profile] oyceter's excellent write up of Part Two.

I will, however, take the opportunity to write about the one situation that upset me the most. I think I got positioned to dislike the comments made by this particular audience member because they were constantly interrupting others and offering comments that weren't really helpful to the issue at hand. But the one that took the cake was the one that cropped up in the following situation:
A woman who was black said that she and her husband, who is Jewish, have a son. The woman (whose name was Rosalyn, I think; I later attended a reading at midnight, and her prose and plot ideas are amazing!) said that she has told her son that despite his "mixed" background, the world perceives him as a black man; she tells him this so that he will understand why others act toward him the way they do. The audience member told the woman that her son needs to know that he is an individual, should accept himself, and that nothing anyone else thinks of him is important, and that all he can do is be himself.

I guess that sounds great rhetorically (not eloquent, but you get what I mean), except that what you think of yourself is not all that matters. Another audience member instantly brought attention to this fact: that it's great to accept yourself except that it does matter what people identify "black man" with when those people are police officers, etc. Encouraging people of color to just "accept themselves" is extremely unhelpful, in my opinion. I don't think that most people of color have a problem with being a person a color. The problem is that society has a prejudice related to how people look. Racism is an institution, and it does affect daily life in many ways. It affects who gets hired for jobs; it affects who gets arrested and who gets let off on the exact same charges; it affects who people avoid when they're walking down the sidewalk. Racism is real, and closing your eyes and focusing on how much you love yourself, however much that is, doesn't make the racism go away.

I don't know. It was just that comment in particular that made me think "WTF" the most.

Recommended Reading
"Writing the Other" - Nisi Shawl
The Color of Water
White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack - Peggy McIntosh
How Not to be Insane When Accused of Racism (A Guide for White People)
laceblade: Kumiko and Reina from Hibike! Euphonium anime, apparently about to kiss (Default)
Time has elapsed; Things have happened
Whoa. The last couple of days have been a whirlwind of events. Friday was the last day of classes, which could be sad if I wasn't so concerned about my final projects. Almost immediately after class, I went over to Bleakhouse Books, a book publishing company at which I'll be an intern on weekdays when I'm not working full days at the Capitol. From what I can glean, they publish mostly mysteries and dark crime fiction. This article explains why I find them badass. They were uninterested in my resume, gave me books to read (and keep? I'm not sure yet), and are located in a part of town that I haven't yet explored, but is still within walking distance of the Capitol. Needless to say, I am very excited.

So. That's obviously amazing. I think it's really cool that I'll enjoy both my jobs and my co-workers this summer, and believe in what I'm doing all the time, which definitely provides a stark contrast to last summer.

Last night was the end-of-the-year party for The Daily Cardinal staff. I'm sad to have to be saying goodbye to my fellow copy editors, although I never really got too close to anyone else there, aside from Eunice, who I already knew. I might be back copy editing one night per week next year, but I don't know for sure yet. I'll see what happens. It was an okay party, so far as those go, although I didn't say too long.

Yesterday, I spent all day finishing up my Anne Frank paper, and now all that's left is some editing and polishing for today. Now I can move on to the three classes I have left. If anyone is going to be interested in reading over a "feminism in sci-fi/fantasy" paper, let me know, because I'll be working on one later in the week.

I did grant myself small bouts of reprieve by going out for dinner at Vientiane Palace with friends and Antoine, and later browsing through Borders with Antoine.

Linkspam (Random)
Someone decided to create their own Sephiroth/Aeris dating scenario using the Cloud Date Scene in Final Fantasy VII. So funny! Probably only if you've played the game, though. Yes, I am an elitist geek.

Shakespeare is getting turned into manga. Awesome? It could be awesome. That Romeo and Juliet image looks pretty lame, though. Romeo and Juliet could be so badass - at least Gonzo is doing a good job.

Racism
I overheard two people talking a few days ago. One, a white male from northern Wisconsin, was pontificating about how the United States was the best country in the world. The people around him were politely listening until one person finally asked him why. He listed a couple over-broad reasons, and ended with, "Here, it doesn't matter what you look like. Everyone is treated the same." A previous listener-only to the conversation, who happened to be a black male, interjected:
"Are you serious?" The white male smiled nervously and said yes, at least up here "in the North," if not in Louisiana or Texas, and at that point a nearby conversation that had already started spilled over into theirs, so they just dropped the conversation without resolving anything.

I'm often surprised when people assume that racism is something that only occurs in the South of the United States, or confined only to areas in which slavery used to occur. In my experience, a lot of people in Wisconsin (in areas that aren't Milwaukee) believe this - that racism is "over," and never bother to realize that their entire school is full of white people and a sizable percentage of Asian people, but no black people, no Latinos. Being racist is about seeing black people or Latino people walking on the sidewalk and assuming you're in a "bad neighborhood." It's assuming that someone who is Asian can't speak English. Being racist doesn't always happen because a person intends it to, or because a person is full of hatred, or even because people realize that they have misconceptions in their head, but because somehow, society has trained us to be that way, even though we don't need to be.

I have a few relatives who are racist in a conscious way, and it disgusts me. It makes me want to shake them and scream at them until they "understand." It's scary when people think that racism is "over," or that it only happens in far-away places that are hundreds of miles away. I really hope that our generation can be the one to start having real compassion and a real understanding of the implications of history on every aspect of the present and how society orders itself and treats its members, and how to build a better future.

babies

May. 9th, 2007 10:39 pm
laceblade: Kumiko and Reina from Hibike! Euphonium anime, apparently about to kiss (Default)
I really don't have time to write an entire blog post, which is sad, because I have things to say. So I guess I'll just pick one and go with it (and close one of my open tabs in my web browser).

Antoine sent me a link to this article, which you should read. The premise is that the population of people with Down syndrome is dwindling because when pregnant mothers find out they have such a child, 9 times out of 10, they abort it. Fewer people with Down syndrome means those that have it have less of a chance to socialize, and for parents to network with one another. It also becomes more difficult for them to lobby for funding for things like scientific research.
I find it incredibly sad that 90% of pregnant women who get a positive test for Down syndrome babies abort their babies. I get really disgusted when people think they can play God. Especially if you want to have a child - but what? Not that child? There are conservative Christians who have said that if there was a way to find out whether or not their child was gay, they would abort their baby. What kind of a society is this, where we can decide which babies do and do not deserve because of their genes? Their genes which we give them? 90%. What the fuck.
So, let me ask you, blog readers - if you or your significant other became pregnant and you knew the child had Down syndrome, would you want/get an abortion?
laceblade: Kumiko and Reina from Hibike! Euphonium anime, apparently about to kiss (Default)
Wow. How can I have been so apathetic and hateful yesterday, and so full of things to say today? I don't know. Life is weird.

Virginia Tech Shootings
Where do I begin? Firstly, usually when things like this happen - when people of any age, but most especially my age, commit horrific acts, or when people die or are put in situations most people don't even have nightmares about, my first instinct is to think, "If I were them, how would I have reacted? How would I feel right now?" Well, the Internet in some ways is a wonderful thing, and it's possible to witness discourse as it happens. Namely? Through Facebook.

One discussion focuses on the shooter, and provides lots of commentary from students who knew Cho Seung-Hui in high school, etc. Some comments are thoughtful, but the conversation kind of dissolves into a childish fight as to whether people should blame the individual or the society that made him.

Another discussion was started by a Korean-American girl who feared that due to Cho Seung-Hui's ethnicity, there might be racism against Korean-Americans.
i'm really worried because i remember when 9/11 first happened and everyone was pointing fingers and discrimminating against anyone from the south or middle east.
now i'm afraid that people are going to start pointing fingers at our whole entire race. :l

now my parents are telling me to be careful when i go out so i don't get a random bullet to my back from some psycho who thinks all koreans are mass killers. and it's happened before with other races. victums believe just because ONE INDIVIDUAL from a certain race did something terrible, everyone who is that race are to blame.

Other Korean-Americans post messages of encouragement, saying that they have to stay positive, but some others are also afraid of the same thing. Lots of white kids leave messages saying that that's an absurd idea, and no one would ever blame an entire race for the actions of one person.

One thing I find really disturbing about the situation is people picking up on Cho Seung-Hui's apparent "dark and violent" writings as an pre-indicator for violence.

When we read Cho's plays, it was like something out of a nightmare. The plays had really twisted, macabre violence that used weapons I wouldn't have even thought of.

There are links to his plays here. I really don't find them that violent. Crass, WTFery, and poorly-written, yes. (Was this kid really an English major?) But violent? Not so much.

Using violent fiction as an excuse, or an indicator, seems lame to me. After Columbine, the excuse was violent video games. If either of these two things were indicators of being a future school shooter, then I myself would have already done it, being an author of a number of "violent stories." And as for video games, I have sniped, pistol-whipped, and set off bombs with the best of them (or the worst, as I'm not the greatest at first-person shooters).

The last thing I found interesting was eyewitness account recorded in online instant messengers. In my opinion, technology makes the world more amazing.

My Life
Work was good today. Also, there was a group of Mennonites (similar to Amish) who stood in the rotunda and sang beautifully.

Chad and I went to go see the U.S. director of Amnesty International. I was a little disappointed, because all that he did was talk about George W. Bush and post-9/11 stuff, really. I understand that the current administration has committed a lot of heinous acts, or allows them to be committed. But still, some people make it seem like no other president has ever violated the human rights of others through his orders. I'm hard-pressed to think of a president who hasn't. I guess I went there hoping to leave feeling inspired, but that didn't happen at all.

I bought groceries, which felt good. I spent some time with Antoine, Creighton, and Carolyn, which was also good even in spite of my heinous level of tiredness.

I also watched the second episode of Romeo x Juliet, which was great. I didn't go in to either of the first two episodes thinking, "I should take notes," but that's what happened both times.

Spoilers for episode 2 of Romeo x Juliet )

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