[In all the years that I've been on LJ and now on DW, I've never posted about things going on in other journals. I've never even left comments to original posts. But since comments are frozen on the original post, and I feel I cannot let this one pass without comment, I'm making a post here. So here goes.]
I'm a Nigerian woman, I read the first half of your novella, here's what I have to say.
Your story pretty much nails all the major the tenets of classic racist ideals.
Bearing in mind that this is not an academic paper on the subject, your story nevertheless serves as a perfect tool for demonstrating what people claim to not understand when someone gets accused of "being racist."
Whether you intended the story as racist or not is, I'm afraid, your bad; I'm still going to use it. So if you or any one you know is baffled and wondering what's the big deal, point them in this direction.
This is in reference, of course, to your fic -- a novella, actually -- entitled Caught Between the Earth and Sky, written by you, gatorgrrrl, for the Supernatural Big Bang. It's a Jensen Ackles/Jared Padelecki AU slash story set in the aftermath of the Haitian earthquake. Jensen plays a doctor and Jared a photojournalist.
And yes, I am aware that you wrote an "apology" for choosing that backdrop, but we'll get to that later.
racism. what is it?
Racefail, racism, racial stereotypes. We've heard the words so much that they're now, in the words of Louis MacNiece, almost a cypher, like a Latin word that many languages have made their own, till it is worn and blunt and easy to construe, and often spoken but no longer heard.
Today, however, you're going to hear it, and perhaps understand it.
So what is racism? According to my dictionary (paraphrasing), it's the belief that members of each race possess characteristics or abilities specific to that race, esp. so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race.
From your fic: Her wide eyes fixed on Jensen once again, scanning his face as if searching for a reason not to trust him. As if his white skin and American accent weren’t reasons enough.
Okay. So let's get right to it.
( Click )
Edit: "Getting it" in Writing Non-white Characters. A couple of commenters brought up this point and I thought this would be a good time to address it as well.
People are shocked and hurt by John Mayer’s March 2010 Playboy interview. Really?
We’re shocked that a person who’s been told all his life by his society that he’s the right race, gender and sexual orientation - and rich and successful to boot - would be racist, sexist, closed- and small-minded.
I thought it would have been more startling an interview had it revealed that Mayer had somehow managed to transcend his own societal pre-destination. Like those “black dudes” he was referring to.
..intellectualism and verbal dexterity having very little to do with intelligence... I thought this was well established.
The man is 32. Which in male-years is about 19 (sorry, guys). So let him have his “cool guy” moments in the sun.
The only thing that will be truly sad is if he lives long enough to see that age where you’ve actually matured. Because then you get to experience the joy of spending the rest of the your life being embarrassed by the awkward things you said when you were younger, and thought you knew it all.
But to be mad at him? Seriously?
"Zestra helps you feel the way you used to feel when sexual arousal just happened, naturally, without doing anything, without thinking about it, without trying not to think about anything else."
It "assists" women in two ways: one by increasing blood flow to the genitals; and two by increasing sensation to the genitals.
According to a director of sex health at the Philadelphia Graduate Hospital, they conducted clinical trials about 3 years ago. Only 20 women were monitored at that time, but with very, very promising results: For women with "known arousal disorder" it was 85% effective, and in their control group (women reporting no "arousal" issues) it was 95% effective.
So this Summer and Fall they’re going wide with 17 sites across the U.S. -- 200 women, all with "sexual dysfunction."
On a news report, the anchor points out that critics say just the act of applying the fluid would be enough to get anyone in the mood, to which the doctor being interviewed replies, "Zestra is a step in the right direction." Which I believe is a...fallacy in argument?
( Read on! )
Even if you didn't intend on it, I advise that your take the time out and see the movie Valentine's Day, which I saw Saturday at a screening. Its opening dates are here on IMDb.
This movie encapsulates everything I detest about romantic comedies or movies that turn white middle class Americans with certain physical attributes that appeal to Hollywood into a bland, interchangeable group.
There are many more things to deplore about the movie,
BUT YOU MUST SEE THIS MOVIE.
There is only one small (but epic) reason. Actually, two. Taylor Launter and Taylor Swift, two people over whom I would lose my shirt on a game show if their names came up as a category, stole the show. It was RIDICULOUS how funny these two were.
I'm not sure they were acting, perhaps that was just them, but they play vapid, ditzy high school teens in love to perfection, and truly, I had to wonder whether their managers were watching. Because were I responsible for their careers, I would find a series of well-written goofy comedies--a la Goldie Hawn's early career--for them to shine in.
But I digress. What I'm trying to say is: If you love slash, and you don't mind love [especially where there's squishy involved! *weeps*], SEE this movie.
And already I've said too much.
I will probably write up a review after the movie comes out, because its failures fascinated me, but for me, THERE WILL BE FIC.
Ack. My poor, silly heart.
For me, it was that he used reason, documentary evidence (the US Constitution, the Declaration of Independence), logical arguments, and absolute discipline (refusing to give into to violence when tempted from all angles by the actions of the populace and the establishment), at the end of the day through sheer sticking to his argument, like water drip dripping on rock he held America to its own promise. And so changed the world.
His arguments were impenetrable, like force fields, allowing marginalized and oppressed peoples to press forward the world over, then and now. There is a reason we have to yearly celebrate the day of his birth, and that is that we as human being can't afford to forget. As our world becomes more diversified with each passing century, or even half century, we cannot put to bed these ideas of civil rights, of equal protection, and of societal nondiscrimination.
These needs come in overlapping cycles; change the group, change the era, change the wrong that needs to be right, you still have the same story. The remembrance of Dr. King's birthday is the reminder that even our words, especially our words, no matter how little, add to the flow until it becomes a mighty river.
Take, and apply, and keep passing on the message.
ALL HERE AND NOW
We don't need to utter but three words to tell this nation what we are talking about.
They aren't big words, you don't need to have a great vocabulary to utter them. You don't need to have a philosophical bent to grasp them. They are three little words.
But we want to let the world know that these words describe what we mean and what we are determined to do about racial injustice.
One is the word "all." We don't want some of our rights, we don't want a few token handouts here and there. We want ALL of our rights.
The other word is "here." There are some people who say that we need to go back to Africa. And then there are some others who tell negroes in the South to leave the South. You can't be free so get out.
But down in Alabama and Mississippi, and Georgia and South Carolina, we are saying something else now. We want all of our rights, and we want all of our rights HERE, in Alabama and Mississippi and South Carolina.
And then there's a third word, it is the word "now." We're not wiling to wait a hundred years for our rights. We are not willing to wait 50 years for what is ours on the basis of the Constitution of these United States and the authority of God himself. No we are not willing to wait another 25 years for our rights.
We can hear voices telling us to slow up. We can hear voices telling us to cool off. Our only answer in calm, patient terms is that we have cooled off too long and if we keep cooling off we'll end up in a deep freeze.
We must go on and say-- No, what we are saying to this nation is that we want all of our rights, we want them there HERE and we want all of them not next year, not next week, but we want them NOW. At THIS hour. This is what we're saying.
- Martin Luther King, Jr.
PREMISE OF ARGUMENT
Once upon a time, there was a movement called “Bohemian.” This movement was made up of artists, musicians, and writers. It was during the nineteenth century, and their reason for being was to create works that were against the grain of mainstream culture, satirize established conventions of the time, and in effect flaunt the idea of things held sacred. They had a mode of dress, a style of conduct and lived “bohemian” lifestyles. Their supreme aim was nothing less than entertainment.
Fast forward to the twentieth century. Specifically, the second half. Change the mediums (but not much), and the origination of material, and give it a different name, and you have something called Fandom.
Fandom was a subcultural mental space created initially by artists and writers, and then vidders, for the reason of creating works that were against the grain of mainstream culture, to satirize, criticize, and flaunt conventions and things held sacred. We’ll get to the why at the end, though of course we all know why.
It was a place without windows or doors to the outside world, as the creations, like certain seeds needed a dark, warm space to grow. The nature of fandom, its ultimate goal was nothing more and nothing less than entertainment.
Fast forward a little bit more, and a funny thing happened.
“Fangirls” arrived in fandom.
( Read on )
No one is destined, like Obi Wan or Morpheus would have us believe, to walk down a certain path, to have all the atoms in the universe line up to make sure a certain timeline unfolds, simply because it is so obviously for the good of the universe.
Step into the project accelerator with me for a moment, fellow geeks, while I theorize that one can alternate-dimension travel within one’s own lifetime, and still find the leap home.
( Read on )
Oh, and Barka da Sallah to all my Muslim country people. Ever since I was a little girl, the end of Ramadan has always marked a wonderland time of wandering through friends houses gorging on kebabs. Sucks to have missed out on all that feasting.
I didn't look into it before going to see the movie because I wanted to know as little as possible about a movie I was admittedly fascinated by. I had been at the midnight showing of Wolverine, and this movie's teaser came on.
Bored two seconds in, and ignoring the odd sensations I was getting wondering why there was a trailer for a documentary about refugees trailing before a comic book action movie, I had leaned over to my friend and whispered, "For once, can we not have a movie about Africa that has to be about issues and poverty and refugees? You know what would be nice? If they panned up from that ghetto and showed hovering over the city, a big fucking alien mothership--"
I'm not ashamed to say that I teared up when I saw that big fucking alien mothership hovering over Joburg. It was a feeling, as an African living in the West, I cannot describe. It was as if, after centuries of being denied a life, that every time we were portrayed in film in the Western world, we had to have issues, we were finally allowed to just be part of the creative world. That our creativity, divorced from perceptions of the rest of the world, was finally on the international stage.
It was a moment I'm unlikely to soon forget. And, it looked like a truly remarkable science fiction film.
And I was not disappointed.
( Read on )
Focus quote, by Michael Medved, critic: Who is going to want to see Downey Jr. and Law make out? I don't think it would be appealing to women.
It’s like, you wish we cared you think women wouldn’t want to see Downey and Law make out.
If you’re just saying that to be controversial, then sorry, you’re several years too late. We’ve already had men embarrass themselves online making stupid statements about women’s sexuality.
And if you’re saying that because you actually mean it, then sorry, like I said, wish we cared.
And don’t get me wrong: I’m really not interested in seeing Robert Downey Jr. make out with anyone. But check out the operative phrase there. I’m not interested. Not that women aren’t interested. See how I don’t generalize about what women like/are interested in? A lot of you scared-stupid men could learn from that.
I’ve decided I’m going to make you a T-shirt, Mr. Medved, that says, “All I really need to know about women’s sexuality I learned from watching my dick shrivel every time I thought about it.” And then I’m going to mail it to you.
In a nutshell, fandom evolved. This happened while some of us were watching, but also while some of us were looking in the other direction, trying to focus a little on the crazy shit life was throwing our way.
But to make a long story short, we haven’t abandoned fandom, fandom sort of took a different turn than most of us were willing to follow. It became not so much about our favorite characters or story lines, but about whether we could do anything psychotic enough to attract the attention of the actors, show creators or studio publicists. Whether we could get our opinions printed on EW.com, or anywhere else retarded enough to pick us up.
It became less, and almost not at all, about our lovely, naughty perversions, and how filthy or funny we could get when no one was watching. We didn’t seem to be satisfied with our fellow fans LOLing or squeeing over what we had to say, but rather we had to have listening, and shove it down the throat of, the outside world.
This of course is not the experience of many in fandom--some fandoms remained impervious--but there has to be a reason LJ is not nearly as fun as it used to it. Sure, few of us have a great big fandom, a la juggernauts like LOTR, to congregate around, but even the smaller ones seem to be suffering from this infection of mainstreamvitis. In general, nowadays, there doesn’t seem to be a resistance to the infection in fandom, yet a resistance is precisely what’s needed to keep good clean fannish fun going.
We’re not meant for the spotlight. We aren’t meant for mainstream, in-your-face, “we exist” politics. We’re meant for the shadows and for the fringes. The ease of access of The Powers That Be to posts, blogs, and commentary has made us believe we’re part of the creative process of our fandoms. But believe me when I tell you that that (with the warped exception of Supernatural), is a fallacy.
So let’s ease off a little. We always had more fun when we were just by ourselves. When LJ was just a cool little secret we shared with our fellow dedicated fans. Trust me when I tell you it’s not about nostalgia for a by-gone time. It’s more about the memory of a time when we got it right. Let them go back to wondering whether we would applaud or boo at a Comic Con panel. Let them actually strive to give us their best again, instead of knowing we’ll be complete whores for whatever tripe they throw at us, simply because we want to feel “relevant” to the process. We’re not relevant to the process. We don’t make shows, shows make fans. And fans make fandom. Let’s love fandom again.
I know I do.