Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Thinking Out loud About a School Project...

I'm working with two other women in my Senior Seminar class on a class facilitation on the topic of "online communities/blogs" and we can basically do whatever we want.

So I've been sitting here a few hours looking through posts I could use to build at least a portion of the presentation focusing on the feminist blogosphere and the way it replicates all the same problems that feminism has always been a part of and that it is not a utopia, etc. (Was thinking about talking about the Amanda Marcotte fiasco, either around that immigration article she wrote in 2008 or shortly after what happened with her book).

But you know I kind of don't feel all that good about it?

And so I thought to myself that perhaps it would be better just to focus the whole presentation on the gaming community (which is the other subject we decided to dedicate part of the class time to), maybe on interesting stuff about the construction/performance of gender like what is in this article:

But you know I kind of don't feel all that good about that either?  About just giving up on what I wanted to do?

I mean... we're in a feminist department and our topic is "internet communities and blogs" and I really think that their is some interesting stuff that goes on in the feminist/womanist blogosphere that relates directly to work we're going to be doing soon as "feminists" (in quotes cuz I don't know that we all identify that way) going out into the world, that I don't see being talked about in academia that much, and I don't know that I want focus on the negative (maybe it's too easy? maybe it's just already been done? I dunno)... instead wouldn't it be nice to focus on the positive and the creative for a change?

But you know, like, I threw a topic like that out there (radical love) (something I'd only come across online although on some research it looks like it goes back to bell hooks?) and no one bit and I don't think should just find a way to bully my way into getting to talk about it anyway.

So, I dunno, I just feel kind of stumped.  Which is why I'm writing, to try and think through what I might do...  And if any of you out there have any ideas, I'd love to hear them.

One thing I've been thinking about is maybe talking about Arwyn's essay "Dancing Through the Tables" as her analysis is another thing I've never run into in academic feminist circles? Or maybe Harriet's "Another Post About Rape," because I think it deals with what happens in the non-academic world with policy really well? And also I think that probably a lot of us will go into some kind of public service and way too many of us don't grapple, I think, with the fact that we might just not be able to stand some of the individuals we work with and we need to ask ourselves if we're capable of helping every one who might cross our paths.  So yeah... that's the best I got so far.  There's just so much to choose from. o.O

Sunday, March 14, 2010

"Developed" land is not better land

Indians: Vallejo's plans for park desecration
"Plans by [the city of] Vallejo to turn a scraggly stretch of waterfront on the Carquinez Strait into a park with paved parking, trails and restrooms are infuriating local Ohlone Indians who say the 15-acre site is sacred and should be left alone.

The property is Glen Cove Park, a spot that was the site of a 3,500-year-old Ohlone village and shell mound where thousands of people were buried.

The settlement is one of the oldest Ohlone sites in the Bay Area and among the few that has eluded development. But for decades, Vallejo has wanted to convert the wildland to a park with a portion of the Bay Trail, picnic tables and a pastoral array of native plants.

'What we want to do is return it to what it was 100 years ago,' said Steve Pressley, maintenance and development manager for the Greater Vallejo Recreation District. 'As an agency, we have a responsibility to the public as a whole, and we need to consider all the components, not just the needs of Native Americans.'"

Of course, as it noted further along in the article, people already use this site as a park and are quite happy with it. So "responsibility to the public as a whole" is a shallow defense at best. Although, I plan to quote that bit in my letter to them as a reason why they should care what I think of their plans.

I'm not even going to get started on how the way the article is written is clearly meant to create sympathy for the city.

In addition, another story will probably be popping up soon putting Vallejo on the radar of bloggers/social justice minded news readers like you and me (hopefully more on that soon), so I want to make sure to spread the word on this. I can just see them using the noise on the other story to do some shady shit like this while we're distracted.

Please feel free to tell the Greater Vallejo Recreation District and tell them just what you think about paving over sacred Indian locations:

Shane McAffee, General Manager
Telephone: 707-648-4603

Steve Pressley, Maintenance & Development Manager
Telephone: 707-648-4602

Board of Directors

In their local community workshops [pdf] the GVRD asked participants to rank a selection of priorities, one being "Protect Native American sacred land." I think that should be number one. How about you?

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

"Free Native Extraction Service"

Commenter here (and blogger in her own right) Cecelia pointed out this story, in the comments on my post at the racist events that have happened recently at UCSD.

The advertisement headlined “Free Native Extraction Service” was placed on the website. The website is managed by Victoria-based company called Black Press. They operate a network of websites (47 in total) under the brand.
Referring to Native youth, it began: “Have you ever had the experience of getting home to find those pesky little buggers hanging outside your home, in the back alley or on the corner???” It goes on to offer “free extraction services to relocate them to their habitat,” and continues with other offensive remarks.
“We condemn this as a hate crime, and will join with others to see the perpetrators are brought to justice,” said Rector. “This ad could intimidate and incite violence against indigenous youth in North America, and we are joining with Manitoba Chiefs to call for an end to hate crimes such as these. We must all stand together to protect our youth.”
Link here

This is "post racial American" folks.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Because this needs to be said to my wider audience too

"Apparently "Firefly" is antifeminist -.-"



Ugh! So much about this pisses me off. I could rant forever in response to this, but to sum up everything I feel quickly:

1) The person who wrote this clearly doesn’t understand the show. At all. She obviously watched it searching for reasons, and then, when she found none, forced it to fit her opinion. Which, it doesn’t. She also generalises, and accepts her personal opinions and experiences as fact.

and 2) She call herself a “feminist”, but, she is not. A feminist believes that men and women are equal, but she is an extremist, and seems to believe that women are better than men. In the comments she actually says “I hate men.” -.-

Anger! Anger! Is anyone else seething with anger?? If I were better at writing, I’d write her a kick in the face. ugh. anger.

and wtf was the “lesbian feminist” thing? just cause you are lesbian does not make you more of a feminist!

I want to just show her point by point how freaking wrong she is. ugh. ok… calming down for a bit…

Um, hi... I'm the woman who runs the Fuck Yeah Nathan Fillion tumblr so I know you've seen my SN pop up on your dash, reblogging your excellent Mal pictures and quotes.

So when I say what I'm about to say, I sincerely hope that you will take into account that, obviously, I'm a huge fucking fan of Whedon in general and definitely of Firefly specifically.

Allecto is not "crazy" or "just looking for stuff to get mad about".

I don't particularly agree with her on all of her points (no, really, I really, really, don't). In fact I'd go so far as to say that while I think she brings up some really interesting thoughts, questions and choices made in the show that should be taken seriously, just as often her analysis hinges on some extremely problematic ideas.

I'll give you a for instance: I completely and totally and vehemently disagree with allecto regarding her interpretation of Inara's character, who seems to be filling the role of "sex therapist/surrogate" often enough, and I think her labeling of Inara as a "prostituted woman" erases the character's agency, not to mention the agency of real life sex workers by association in the process. And I think that erasure operates very similarly to how she argues Whedon erased much of Zoe's agency, and that's pretty fucked up!

But that doesn't make her everything about her analysis "stupid," and just because she doesn't agree with your view of the show doesn't mean she's just so stupid that she "doesn't get the show."

Like all art, television is a subjective experience. And her experience was different from yours. But, again, that doesn't make it WRONG.

I've engaged in plenty of critique with Whedon's work, both favorable (like my Doctor Horrible series!) and not. He's not even close to perfect, and if you're emotionally invested in him being so, and being seen by others as such, you're going to be blindingly pissed off an awful lot.

But I mean for fuck sakes, Firefly is based in a world where the U.S. and China are supposed to be the basis for pretty much everything, and he had his characters speaking the wrong dialect and didn't cast a single Asian (much less Chinese) or mixed race character (and no I cannot take credit for realizing this, it was pointed out to me by women of color who I read online, though it was years ago and so I don't remember exactly who).

But yeah. Not. a. single. one.

And he has ADMITTED how fucked up that was, since then.

Because Joss Whedon is not perfect! He carries his own privilege and perspective and biases and life experiences into his work. And not all of that is going to be pretty, some of it is going to be (and has been) rather fucked up!

The same is true for any artist, and it should not prevent us from still loving their work while also being able to say "hey you can do this better" or "hey that was seriously messed up."

Because, and here's the thing a lot of the people I've seen respond with anger to this post seems to me to be forgetting: JOSS CREATED THIS SHOW.

Like, he DECIDED, purposefully, how the characters would be, what the plots would look like, etc. Everything in the show is the result of a conscious decision on his part or his writer's part and with his approval. So analyzing the CHOICES he made and what he DECIDED to present, with the thought in mind that had he wanted to he could have done something different, is vital to these discussions!

...Basically, what I'm saying is, if you disagree with her critique, that's fine/great/wonderful/perfectly acceptable to me, but how about you CRITIQUE IT! Meaning analyse her arguments and reply in kind, instead of just going "omg she obviously just is too stupid to GET IT!" and dismissing her out of hand.

And before you do that, you might want to examine your response to hers, because the amount of anger directed at her for the act of voicing her analysis of a television show seems really out of whack (you want to kick her in the face? what?). I'm pretty sure Joss Whedon doesn't need us white knighting on the internet for him...

Also, to all the lovely people whose comments I read in the "notes" on the tumblr post, talking about how much more feminist you and Firefly are than this writer is, while also calling her a BITCH and other choice words in the same breath, wow, that is pretty absurdly hypocritical. Just sayin'.

One last thing: Lesbian Feminism. Yeah, it's a thing. Not an unproblematic thing, but an established thing nonetheless.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Racism on UC Campuses

Definitely a must read for all of us going to school in California...
A firestorm over racially and ethnically charged incidents at several University of California campuses spread Tuesday as UC San Diego announced a KKK-style hood was found on campus and students in Los Angeles and Irvine demonstrated against intolerance.

"What kind of campus promotes an environment that allows people to think it's acceptable to target people for their ethnicity, gender or sexuality?" said Corey Matthews, one of about 200 mostly minority UCLA students who held a lunchtime rally. "It's something about the tone of the environment that allows this."

At UC Irvine, about 250 people gathered for a "student solidarity speakout" to condemn the recent spate of racist incidents at UC San Diego that targeted black students and another incident last month at UC Davis, which targeted a Jewish student with a swastika carved on her door, said Marya Bangee, an event organizer.

The protests came on the same day UC San Diego announced the discovery of a white pillowcase fashioned into a KKK-style hood — the third racist incident around the campus in as many weeks — and a day after UC Santa Cruz officials found an image of a noose scribbled on the inside of a bathroom door.

Officials found the hood, which bore a hand-drawn circle and cross, on a statue of children's book author Theodor Geisel, aka Dr. Seuss, outside the main campus library late Monday. A rose had been inserted between the statue's fingers.

Detectives were analyzing the pillowcase for fingerprints and DNA evidence, a university statement said.

UC San Diego Chancellor Marye Anne Fox vowed to punish the culprits to the fullest extent of the law. "We will not tolerate these despicable actions," she said in the statement.

The hood came on the heels two other UC San Diego incidents: a February off-campus, student-organized "Compton Cookout" party that mocked Black History Month with ghetto stereotypes; and a noose found hanging from a library bookshelf last week.
LA Times

This shit has got to stop.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Statewide Day of Action

Today is the day, fellow Californians!

While I know we can't all drop what we're doing and head out, if you can show up, please do.

Anyone living here right now knows that public education is under attack: with funding cuts, tuitions raised over and over, and lay-offs left and right.

California has some of the most affordable public institutions of higher education, where you can get some of the best educating in the country, and this is because we made affordable public education a priority. But this seems to have slipped by the wayside the more and more into debt our state has gone.

While, yes, we need to fix our budget, cuts in education is not a solution. And cuts in valuable social justice departments (Women and Gender Studies, Ethnic Studies, etc.) is NOT the solution either, yet they are often the first to go. We need MORE of that kind of education, if we are to ever produce a populace who understands the connections that need to be made to create a sustainable state. The kind of state where everyone has a home, and food in their cupboards.

And I don't think I have to tell you how far we are from that simple standard right now.

So, like I said, if you can, please show up.

For a list of events that are happening near you please consult this site.

"Higher" education is a right, not a privilege.

*Update* To keep up to date on the happenings today in California (and in other states apparently?) check out this site:

You can also follow my Twitter feed as I have been updating sporadically throughout the day.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

2-1-1 provides free and confidential information and referral. Call 2-1-1 for help with food, housing, employment, health care, counseling and more.
I just stumbled across this service in one of my investigations on the internet!

Monday, March 01, 2010

FYI - All Haitian "Orphans" Had Parents

Tumblr cross post:

A reporter’s visit Saturday to the rubble-strewn Citron slum, where 13 of the children lived, led to their parents, all of whom said they turned their youngsters over to the missionary group voluntarily in hopes of getting them to safety.
Similar explanations were given by parents in the mountain town of Callabas, outside Port-au-Prince, who told the AP on Feb. 3 that desperation and blind faith led them to hand over 20 children to the Baptist group.