Wednesday, March 31, 2004

I have found a strange quirk in my personality, and in the spirit of navel gazing, I will talk about it. I am not scared about doing movement improv in public. I am frightened of approaching people I don't know, or even worse of talking to people I have seen around, but don't know that well. But looking like an idiot in front of the entire school? No problem. I guess it's because I tend not to notice people around, I tend to be so focused on what I'm doing, so the focus is not on the scary people, but on the dance.

Also, about the tragic events of today. If one feels like it, maybe it would be appropiate to say a little prayer for the soldiers, contractors, and Iraqis that have died in this war. If one is not religious, contemplating the futility of their deaths, and the waste of good life that represents will suffice.

Monday, March 29, 2004

Thinking about reparations makes me depressed. It reminds me of the millions of lives lost, the millions of talents wasted, the millions of lives made unhappy or stunted when if the evil of slavery and the subsequent Jim Crow laws had never existed, would have been ok. Nothing can repay the cost. Even the money some Jews received for the Holocaust can never repay their pain and suffering. Many people don't even understand the magnitude of this, and I can't explain it. I mean, it's really hard to imagine a million people, and the people who died because of slavery were millions and millions. And just imagine their lives snuffed out like a candle for profit. Imagine even more millions unable to use their talents, told to hate themselves, and that they were inferior, for profit, so that some dudes could feel superior.

I could not even understand how anyone could not be effected, that anyone could dismiss these feelings as 'silly' or not important. It's hard to put yourself in someone else's shoes, I guess. I remember a exhibit of lynching photos, and my embarrassing reaction was to be glad I wasn't white. I would have felt an even deeper shame then. I'm aware we're all brothers in the human race, but due to the enviroment I live in I tend to identify more with the victims, hung up like sides of meat for everyone to see. I don't really identify with the smiling faces in the crowd, smiling, but their lives must have been corrupted- it just seems impure to me to witness a murder.

This reminds me of the subtext of Kindred, which is that slavery corrupts everyone. All the slaveowners in this book are ruined by a moral corruption that overtakes them. The power structure in itself is enough to cause a corruption of morals. Is this effect really slavery's own punishment? No clue.
Now this is simply dangerous. Our mania to make everyone the same weight has gone too far. Weight Loss Surgery is major surgery, with all the possible complications that go with surgery. Now they are cutting up children who don't even have any weight related health complaints. Maybe we should teach our kids to act like they have some sense(if the teasing behavior wasn't encouraged, they'd stop), encourage better school lunch menus(not pizza every day like they had when I was coming up), get the kids eating varied healthy foods, not fad diets, just lots of fruits and veggies, wheat breads and lean proteins, encourage non competitive movement(if it's a big production every time you don't win, you're not going to want to do it) for our children. Have the whole family go for a walk. Just don't have their stomachs stapled for god's sake!
If you're an Ebay seller, you need to read this thread. Sometimes people will buy something, and not pay for it, and just cussing them out in feedback isn't going to get them removed. You need to submit a non paying bidding report, and then ten days after, ask for a final value fee credit. If the buyer gets this three times, they are off ebay, and out of people's hair.
About this article on the Believer and its supposed incestuousness. On one hand, I'd like to be able to say- Yes! all written works should be published based on talent, not on who knows who! On the other hand, who am I kidding? Submissions editors get hammered from all sides by mostly unreadable mush- it's probably comforting to read something by someone who you can at least think can string together a fairly grammatically correct sentence, and knows that your Home and Garden magazine isn't the place for poorly written erotic fanfic about 7 of 9 and her tits.

Sunday, March 28, 2004

I just found out that Coffee Will Make You Black has a sequel, and I'm psyched. But I have a dileimna, should I buy it used or new? On one hand, buying it used would be better for the pocket book, on the other hand, shouldn't I support authors bringing different perspectives into the world? I mean, even if a million people were getting it used, the sales figures would only show the people who got it new, and that's who counts when making detriminations about what they should buy next.

Also, this leads me into more confusing territory- namely, what does one owe to their community? On one hand, I could be like "Just because we have similar skin colors doesn't mean we have an obligation to each other" and there's a certain logic in that- blacks are very diverse people, and just because two people are black doesn't nessicarily mean they have anything in common with each other. Onthe other hand, it's pretty isolating to not believe in a sembalance of community- blacks seem to have always gone to their greatest victory by being unified instead of being like "I've got mine, now you get yours". It reminds me of something I heard(don't think I'm preaching this as the gospel truth, I just heard it) is that members of certain ethnic groups(in this version it's Koreans, in another, it may be something else) band together so that members of that certain community have enough to build buisnesses on and such.

I'm not sure if the story is true or not, but if it was, I can see how that would be a bit more successful than everyone floundering around alone hoping to scrape up cash alone.
I'm way late on this, but still, here is the March issue of Sequential Tart. There's a very good article on how comics fans often forget the growth in the comics fan base caused by manga by making up a bunch of excuses, as if manga isn't real comics. Comics fans should embrace the growth- those manga fans are going to be the ones who continue to make comics in the years after the older generation is off to the senior home. I do have some problems with this roundtable mostly it's a rehash of the same old comics aren't for kids/boys stuff, but the last comment especially gets on my nerves. How is this mother an 'idiot' for not knowing that manga goes the other way? She's never encountered it in her life. Also, I'd like to note that while I like strong plucky heroines in manga, there's plenty of room for other representations- the problem comes in when the only thing you see is one side. It's just as one sided if all women are super geniuses, than if they are all idiots.

Saturday, March 27, 2004

I was reading this, and this guy is right- blame and responsibility are often confused. People say 'responsibility' when they mean blame. Blame is a very negative thing- it's pretty much a punishment and a way to justify selfish behavior. If it's all your fault, well, I don't have any responsibility to help you. If it's all your fault, well, you simply deserve to be belittled. But responsibility is something different- it's not just "well, I felt like saying you were bad so I didn't have to help anyone", it's like how the mom has a responsibility to take care of the baby. It's not a big stamp that others put on her, it comes from her, organically.

In other news, I think that instead of signing a web petition that noone cares about, they should write letters to the FCC and have them delivered by mail. But noone listens to me.

Friday, March 26, 2004

My theories on why people are assholes:

In general: People in childhood see assholic(i.e. bullying behavior) being rewarded by greater popularity, and there's no punishment for it, so they think it's a good way of getting through life. That many adults(while I am 19, I'm not a full adult) have just now figured out that bullies are the popular kids blows my mind. Like where were they during our entire childhoods?

In customer service: People hear the lie 'the customer is always right' and think that any behavior on their part is justified. I mean, when they throw a tanturm in the middle of the store, they get free stuff, etc, just to appease them. Also, stores are really crowded and people usually are in them after they have gotten out of traffic which makes them stressed and more likely to fly off the handle.

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Today I used my social skills to reassure someone. I feel that this would be a good example of what to do. The girl said Do we really have to dance in front of everyone? (she seemed concerned). I said "Well, very few people care about the inauguration of a new University President" Others went on to say "Yea, like, noone will be there" and so the girl was reassured.

What I did: I did not act like her concerns were stupid "Who even gets nervous about stuff like that?", I instead attempted to address her concern(that she would be embarrassed in public) Neither did I say "Get over it, you'll have to do it anyway". That is a poor way of handling someone who wants reassurance. Why? Because her concerns are rebuffed, and you also indicate that you personally don't care about her feelings.

This is just a small portion of the ways that you can learn not to be a giant jerk.

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

"We are not judges. We are not called upon to torture our fellows with thumbscrews and irons; we are not called to mount pulpits and lecture them on pale Sunday afternoons" - Neville, The Waves, p.196.

I especially like the part of this quotation which says that we are not called upon to torture our fellows with thumbscrews and irons. I like to cuss and yell and rant on this blog, but I am fully aware that thems who need it, won't read it, so I can say what I like. I do not understand the thought processes of others, tho. Do others feel guilty all by themselves, and just assume that everyone else needs help, or do they not feel any, and so think others need the help they need? Like if I get a bad grade on a test, I already feel bad about it, I've already said I was stupid, I've already worried about whether I worked hard enough, all this before I told someone else about it, so I don't need to go over those steps again.

Monday, March 22, 2004

I was reading the book The Best of Emerge Magazine, and I think there should be a Best of Bitch Magazine- over 50% of the issues are out of print, and Bitch magazine has some of the best feminist discourse that I personally have seen in magazine form. It would be a shame to relegate that to chasing down the occasional back issue on Ebay. Maybe there should be a letter writing campaign- people who have the commitement to write letters tend to not just be writing things for the fun of it, and it would be instrumental in convincing them that an audience exists for a Best Of, instead of just a few net kooks with wet dreams. Here is Bitch's address if you are convinced:

Bitch Magazine
1611 Telegraph Avenue, Suite 515
Oakland, CA 94612

Sunday, March 21, 2004

A bizarrely common belief is that people are all powerful and all knowing. Take people who think there is no such thing as bad luck. How would that even work in a world in which humans do not have these powers- if you can't see a can in the road, you'll trip, if you can not predict the stock market with perfect accuracy, you might get a bad investment, etc,etc. So much is outside human control- we can try to tame the forces of chance, but we can't really control them. So unexpected things will happen all the time, and of course, some of those unexpected things will be bad.

Another bizarre common belief is that people who bad things happen to are bad people. An interesting example that was presented in my Psych class was that some guy had written a letter to the editor saying that Jody Foster's Hollywood debauchery was to blame for John Hinckely Jr's shooting of President Reagan- that if she had only played pure and wholesome roles on the screen, Hinckley wouldn't have used her as a focus of psychosis. That of course, is BS on the face. How is an actress going to know whether a mentally unstable person sees a film and becomes obsessed? Everything we do could possibly have negative consequences, which is of course how people(especially those who get off on hurting others) make up infinite reasons to blame people for things they certainly could not have foretold.

Saturday, March 20, 2004

Hi, I'm back. My computer blew up and all sorts of horrid things happened(OMG!!! WHAT IF I GET A B- ON MY CC MENTAL HEALTH PAPER AGAIN!!!! type bad things, I mean), but I am alright. I will continue to be annoyed at the Republican club at my school which pisses me off. Like they are going to say the BSA is wrong for being like hey, profs should not use racial slurs, but then whine because they didn't get a $5000 handout to see David Horowitz speak *again*. I mean, if I was a welfare mom and I needed to buy my kids some new sneakers, I'd be told to get a job, and not look for a handout, so why are they looking for handouts from their College Council?

Thursday, March 04, 2004

Fun, it seems that some people who are simply unable to deal with the fact that America is changing in a mature and sensible way have started to bomb people. I dislike these tantrums. Yes, they are horrid and hurt innocent people, but what they really are are tantrums. They can't deal with change, they feel threatened and frightened and try to pin it on the other. Not the people who are the real reasons they are not successful- not the ones who cut taxes for the schools or outsourced the jobs or broke federal law so they could hire labor a little cheaper. You never see them protesting them, all they can do is hurt some people for no reason. This isn't going to make their lives any better. This isn't going to make anything good happen for them.

We're all hung on the same tree. While they are trying to stick it to the black man for whatever reason, they are the ones being hurt by the real culprits. My basic meaning is that they are being complicit in any oppression(too strong a word. Maybe I mean minor nuisances, but does that really match with complict? Then again maybe I should do counter point) they may encounter. They never question the underlying problems, just surface stuff like worrying about people who don't look like them. I mean, rethinking the assumption that this is a zero sum game and that two people can't be happy at the same time would revolutionize their world way more than any violence could. Too bad they haven't thought about it.

I should try to be less judgmental, but I feel like fuck it. If they didn't want to be judged they'd not send bombs to people's offices. I don't like Bush, but I'm able to not be a freaking terrorist. Someone could have died, and for what? Because some asshats can't stop peeing in their knickers enough to read a book? Like screw that! This isnt the Third World- we can find peaceful solutions.

For example, the gays getting married now are starting a revolution, and they aren't doing it with guns and bombs. I'm not saying that guns and bombs don't have a place in this world- I'm saying that they are the last resort, when you are actually threatened. Not in a "Oh no, it's all the black people's fault I didn't get into Harvard" kinda way, but in a 'this guy's gonna rape my behind and then kill me" kinda way
I never got that man is head of the woman like Christ is head of the church stuff. When I go into a Missionary Baptist church, guess who I see mostly? Girls and women! Who do I see doing most of the work? Girls and women! But they usually only occupy subordinate positions. Crazy shit. This church stuff never makes any sense to me at all.

Wednesday, March 03, 2004

This woman is totally rocking my ass off. I like the idea of women going up and raising the cry and creating a new culture of body acceptance for themselves and others. While I know that media images have an effect, if we all stood up and said "No, that's not what we want!" maybe it would change. For example, let's talk about my favorite time period- the whole Civil Rights thing. They said NO to oppression and NO to brutality. Sure, there's still a lot of it around, but merely saying no, we won't go along with this (by saying I mean kinda a mix between saying and doing, but don't have the words) a bit of that tyranny is deleted. For example, I say no, I'm not paying fifty bucks every month to try to attain a beauty standard that doesn't inculde me. Maybe a few more people are given the courage to say no, and maybe it'll have a snowball effect. Or maybe not, I don't know.

Tuesday, March 02, 2004

To avoid writing about Erec and Enide, I have decided to talk about Naruto. Naruto teaches children the hard lessons in life- namely, that while hard work and determination may get you far, it's much better to actually not be terrible at what you are doing. For example, Rock Lee works hard, as the ten billion flash backs illustrate. He's filled with burning passion and has a secret technique. Yet, he doesn't win. Guess why? Because he doesn't have the strength to defeat his opponent. It's weird seeing a kid's show tell the truth. I'm not saying that we should just lay around in the muck, but seriously, millions work hard every day- they do our dirtiest hardest, most low paying jobs, but they aren't successful. For example, let's think of migrant workers. They were born in the wrong country, so now they get paid slave labor wages to pick strawberries. How can you blame them for this at all? I can't see how anything could even think of blaming the people who carry our country on their backs because they aren't as rich as the lazy trust fund babies living the high life at Yale. is asking for people to donate time and money to defeating George Bush. If you think George Bush is taking this country in the wrong direction, don't just talk, do something. Even a person who sucks like me is selling anti bush campaign buttons and stuff.So work hard to shave that bush!
Things that piss me off inculde knob slobbing, beautific depictions of the past without blacks. Like people will be full of nostalgia for the antebellum south, or something, and then wonder why I am ticked. I think it's because in that nostaglia, there's a bit of desire to return to that world- a world where I do not exist as a human being with rights, where I am considered an animal, an interloper. A big problem is that social consciousness has a learning curve. You have to read books, you have to be intellectually curious, you have to be anything but a mere passive observer of the social realities you create. This takes time away from staring at the motherfucking boob tube, so most people don't learn anything, but they think they can! Fuck them!

In more cheerful news, here's a site about a film about plus size models. Buy a tape- support small cinema! Also, stop prisoner rape- freed prisoners can transmit the HIV they catch from getting raped to their wives and girlfriends causing a deadly epidemic of AIDS. We don't like that sort of thing, so help stop it