Friday, January 30, 2004

Yet again, there is some major breaking it down in the TCJ Walmart thread. While I agree with Mike Hunter's analysis of the situation, I'd like to add that we all need to remember to volunteer in the greater community. For example, I suck. I'm awkward with people, and I suck at everything. Yet even I can take 30 minutes out of the week to garden for the hungry! And don't worry- you have time- if you can spend 30 minutes watching American Idol or whatever is on nowadays, you can spend 30 minutes not being a douche. Or you could give money or something.
Here's some authentic good news from the Christian Science monitor- she doesn't deny that the children are dying, but, even if that is so, they can still laugh at the spectacle of an American trying to speak their language. That's what I find so great about authentic good news- it doesn't deny reality, but it sees a spot of sunshine here and there. It's cheering, but not lulling.

Speaking of lulling, continues the fight to show their ad. I do agree with them, I mean, it's not like the superbowl ads haven't featured things that might offend before, and just saying that our children might have to pay for the deficit isn't really that shocking. I could see if it showed president Bush mowing down children with a bazooka or something, but just images of children working? Not that shocking. asks you to switch to CNN between 8:10 and 8:35 to view the commercial. I don't watch the superbowl, as I could care less about football, but I do understand that allowing dissent is cool.

Also, it seems that righties are shiftlessly living off the gov't, while lefties are working hard and giving the tax money for the programs that righties complain about. Yes, this is an oversimplification, read the article.
Now this is some rhetoric. This guy seems highly amusing. *warning- leftist*

I'm annoyed about missing bell hooks last night, will attempt to be more ear to the ground,etc.

Thursday, January 29, 2004

I think the whole lobotomy approach to problem solving is crazy. The lobotomy approach calls for us to cut ourselves off from objective reality, and just pretend all the time. I think this freaks me out because that's an awful lot like being crazy. You reject reality and create a reality of your own making. It's like choosing to believe that TV's are talking to you, and that we're all being controlled by computers. Being crazy is a big fear, so choosing to be crazy seems like choosing to inject yourself with AIDs. I know that people like that don't actually think or anything, but even on a casual thinking level, it's pretty darn freaky. It's like that anti evolution story I linked earlier today. Instead of believing in science(i.e. reality) they try to impose this totally false idea on the world, and then get mad if others are in touch with reality.

Of course, I think that some may be able to maintain a little fakery, and still be ok, like the religious person who thinks that evolution is merely an explanation of the magnificent mind of god. That's still weird, but at least it doesn't harm people with sense who actually want to do something here, in this world, in this reality. But I'd greatly resist anyone who wants me to stop using my frontal lobes. I guess interning in the crazy house has had a big effect on me. Seeing actual crazy people makes me want to keep in touch with reality, and makes me wonder about anyone who'd like to cut the ties. While there are hard truths in reality, and problems we can't solve in thirty minutes- reality is the only plane on which we can solve problems. It's like my cross cultural mental health class- we can talk about the limitations of the biomedical system all day, but at the end of the day, polio vaccine keeps people from getting polio no matter whether they believe in microbes, in spirits or in a God. And that's what is great about reality.
My Psychology teacher continues his anti right wing reign of terror! In an earlier class, he mentioned reading the satanic publication, The New York Times, and today, he belched out that the idea of not teaching evolution in schools was dumb, and that this would help Georgia be number 50 in the nation on SAT scores. I weep for the persecution that conservatives have to go through. They have to learn about non white, non male figures, and not call minorities names, and now this? Children might be taught science in science class? I perish the thought!
It is nearly February, so I am slightly amused that I got my issue of American Legacy today(a magazine about black history and culture. This reminds me that there is a lot I don't know about magazines. I have never seen this magazine on a newsstand, not even of a smaller independent store(which are rare) nor had I heard of it until I was poking around for a black history magazine. But, the editors' letter for this month talked about how they had been ongoing for nine years, and the many spin offs. Also, this magazine wasn't in Writer's Market- I wonder how they decide what to put in, and what not to.

I'd also like to remind everyone to support intelligent magazines and books, or we won't have anything above the intellectual level of pond scum in our society. I'd also encourage everyone to try to find out about cultures not your own, and try to expand your sphere of knowledge. You may say, oh, it's so hard, but think about how much time you spend watching that badger badger badger animation or just sitting on the toilet, you know?

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

In a shocking manner, it seems that Britain is having the same sort of problems with conservative whiners as we are. Can we break through the whining and make life better for everyone? Since the conservative complaints aren't rooted in objective reality, I tend to give them short shrift. I know I know, just because spirits don't cause diseases doesn't mean you shouldn't try to negotiate a compromise between the imaginary spirits and real medicine that can actually help, but I have a hard time doing that.

Also, this guy needs cash, because he lost his job. Put something in the tip jar if it's only a dollar! I gave him a dollar, and I'm broke, if lots of people gave him a dollar, he could at least buy a beer, and network or however networking works- I don't know how it works at all. And while whining about lack of cash, I think I'll be enormously crass and say I don't have a job! So if you feel like you need buttons with creative slogans on them like "Deviant" "I read comics" "nappy pride" or "sex goddess" or you want custom button making, come on down to my store. Do not worry- I'm making with the jobbing. My resume is done!

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Even though this is a forum about comic books, some of the TCJ folks really kicked that whole pull yourself up by the bootstraps/poverty as a moral failure paradigm in the ass. That really pisses me off since I know I'll be scorned for being poor, even though I'm pretty hard working, and have even been able to go to college.

Also, is pissed. CBS won't take their ad. More info here. The ad was a pretty good ad- it portrayed children working and said "guess who is paying for the deficit'.

Monday, January 26, 2004

ASSHOLES! Guess why you get yelled at? Ok, here's a real situation. This guy saw me reading my Sociology of Law textbook and was like "Theorectical perspectives" and he was like "Oh, look! bullshit views!" and then a few days later, not only does he make me wait hours and hours for a printer I needed, because on Sunday, he suddenly decided to be elsewhere, when days in advance I had called to ask about it, and then he decided to be like "Oh, when you get out in the real world, you really start to learn about life' While I'm aware that many people can't hear themselves, that is just unwarranted, when he had been warned before about a snide comment on cookies. And then he wonders why he has to deal with my rage. I try to explain(although I have difficulty controlling myself- it's very intense rage) that I had been abused that way my whole life, and that was why I was sick of it. He tries to whine and make excuses, which makes me even angrier- he has decided to attack me, and then tries to pretend it's ok? I used to do that whole game, but what did it make me? depressed! Unfortunately, the depression has lifted, to be replaced with the rage, and it's intense. While I do feel sorry for slapping him, I am not sorry for yelling.
Things that I am SHOCKED shocked that other people don't know: There is no such thing as one monolithic body of knowledge known as common sense. As I have mentioned before, I have been reading The Spirit Catches You and Then You Fall Down. In the Hmong society, it is common sense that you bury the placenta so that the baby's soul will have something to wear when it (eventually) dies. However, in the US, this would be a strange, non common sensical belief.

Even within cultures, common sense varies sometimes from person to person. I may consider it common sense that what your brother's friend's sister's step grandma's cousin's roommate said is not the most accurate source of information on anything, but Bob down the street may think it's common sense that what regular people say is better than what some liberal radicals say in those fancy books. Doctors and lawyers have a different sense of common sense than farm laborers, because the knowledge base and the experiences are different.

We are not all starting from the exact same base of knowledge, and it'd be crazy to think we do.
The BBC covers a sort of 'man on the street' look at whether North Africa is Africa or not. I personally do not have an opinion, as I do not know enough to talk about it.

Sunday, January 25, 2004

It seems yet again I will start talking about my Cross Cultural Mental Health Class, for which I was assigned the Kleinman book and the Fadiman book was in the bookstore for this class, we just have too many good books in there.

In Karl Menniger's more recent formulation: "Illness is in part what the world has done to a victim, but in a larger part it is what a victim has done with his world and with himself..." Such preposterous and dangerous views manage to put the onus of the illness on the patient and not only weaken the patient's ability to understand the range of plausible medical treatment, but also implicitly direct the patient from such treatment..."

From Illness as Metaphor and AIDS and Its Metaphors by Susan Songtag

This is a useful quote, because it notes how the blame the victim formulation doesn't lead to a cure. I think that this is true in all forms of life- I know that my life has never been made better by people saying I'm a bad person, but it has been made better by people trying to help in a practical respectful manner. For example, people are always jawing off about how the poor are just lazy, but if we all got off our asses and did just 30 minutes a week worth of work, the lives of the poor would be way better. Hey, it's about the same amount of time they spend jawing about stuff.
A thread in which Kochalka discusses his mini- The Cute Manifesto. It's pretty good.
"The Hmongs have a phrase cuaj txub kaum txub, which means 'to speak of all kinds of things." It is often used at the beginning of an oral narrative as a way of reminding the listeners that the world is fuill of things that may not seem to be connected but actually are; that no event occurs in isolation: that you can miss a lot by sticking to the point; and that the storyteller is likely to be long winded"

-From "The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down" by Anne Fadiman.

I don't know much about the culture of the Hmongs, but all cultures have good things to say, I think.
I feel like Richard Wright today. Richard Wright is a very important figure to me- not only was he the first black who could possibly be contrued as an atheist I knew of, he was always doing the wrong thing in his book Black Boy- he'd forget to shuffle and grin as he was supposed to, he'd write stories and shock everybody, he'd say something not groupthinky enough and the Commies were like "Troskyite!". I feel much the same, althiugh as times are different, the things I do wrong are different. I realize that you're not supposed to show anything beyond surface laughter, not even shallow tears, and that you must always skate on the surface of life. But like Wright, my consciousness was formed before I knew these things, so I find my self feeling deeply and for a long time.

I have conflicts that can not be resolved in thrity minutes, and problems that aren't like "Oh, what if my parents find out I have a tattoo?" But I'm not supposed to say antyhing, and that actually makes it worse. For example, the whole dustup about that professor saying the n word has actually affected me profoundly. I feel that my school is dangerous and unsafe- like it is tainted.(feelings are not literal- the feeling of danger doesn't have to apply to physical danger) It would have been ok if noone had defended it. If noone had acted like it was ok. But when people do wrong, and others act like it is ok, and that the wronged party are just bad people, I feel that the 'law' is breaking down- that anything can happen and noone will protect you, the 'law' will probably just join in. While that's a very profoundly painful thing, and now my trust in others is broken, others can not understand anything beyond a automation that is there to entertain them.I feel as if I am suppsoed to be a robot- never having my own real feelings. But of course, the prohibition on feeling anything just makes it more intense.

Sometimes I wonder if other people have real feelings- is it all feelings that are missing or simply empathy or the attempt to understand? The lack of empathy alone is dangerous- our society seems weak and brittle without anything to hold us together besides the desire to be entertained by others, or maybe social ambition?

Saturday, January 24, 2004

Even Colin Powell has his doubts about WMD. I think it would have been better to have known about this before we went to the trouble and expense, not even to mention the lost life. Irresponsible in my book.

Also, here are some adorable black cabbage patch dolls. My favorite is the one with the monkey. I think that black girls should at least have mostly black dolls- they have enough time to absorb eurocentric standards of beauty(by eurocentric I mean- straight long hair, light eyes, light skin and thin noses as being seen as 'better' than other types). When I was little, I'd carry my doll babies everywhere, and I still have them. Although now I dislike getting stuffed animals for presents, as I am now trying to assert a more adult identity.
I finally found a video of Howard Dean's speech, and it just didn't look as bad as it was supposed to. He just looked excited and you could see him gaining more excitement as it went on. I think that people who really like to be in front of crowds sometimes get this effect- you're in the middle of a crowd, and they are just smiling and yelling 'yea~!" and so you get more excited, and then they get more excited- kinda a feedback effect. I of course am only theorizing- I hate being in front of crowds, but being a presidential contender, Dean just might positively love that sort of thing. Then again, I did not see the clip as say, played on Foxnews, which probably looked much worse.

Friday, January 23, 2004

Today, I read Kochalka's Cute Manifesto- summary- cute is good because it's a pure innocent form of beauty that opposes the bad parts of life. Note that Kochalka is actually drawing cute comics, instead of just sitting around spewing cliches. This ties into a article I was reading The Believer- it was about how to write books, and made fun of the many books that try to dupe people into thinking they too can be writers and make tons. The people who really become writers, and really make tons don't sit around talking shit- they write, sometimes for years and years without reward, and they have to research the markets they send to, and basically, there's just a whole lot more to it than just spewing a bunch of words on paper and then sending your handwritten story on legal pads to the biggest magazine you can find, and making 2 zillion dollars a year.

Basically, attend to external reality, and you'll become successful for real. Oh, and people with actual talent at writing unlike me? Check out the Writer's Market.
Besides writing gloomy rants, I also enjoy writing slogans, so I decided to buy a button maker and make buttons. Yes, this is a plug for my ebay store, but it is my blog. Browse through if you get some time. If you like it, come back often- I'm always having new ideas.

Also, in even more exciting news- Mars might have water! Wooo! and here's some hot British coverage with pictures!
Cliches are a form of social control. I wrote it as a comment, but I want to elaborate. Cliches, like eye brow raising, head shaking and tongue clucking are a way to get you to stop doing the socially unacceptable thing you are doing- such as referring to objective reality, or feeling something inappropriate. Like when someone is sad, and instead of listening to them, you drop a platitude on them, you are trying to get them to be in a more socially acceptable frame of mood. I should do an example.

Normal Person: HI!!

Sad person(in a sad tone of voice) hi...

Normal person: The world's what you make of it! Now smile! It takes more muscles to smile than to frown!

Here, not only was the normal person being a douche, he also was not helping the sad person's situation at all- the situation wasn't attended to, the sad person was only exhorted to change their mood for the normal person's pleasure. The normal person merely wants to exhort mood control, not help the sad person. That is why sometimes this sort of advice is resented. So try to listen to the person you want to help, instead of being a douche. If you still don't understand,let's say your computer broke, and instead of listening to your complaint, the person on the other end of the line said "Your computer problems are all in your head" and hung up. Yea, that helps the other person, but would you be happy?

Thursday, January 22, 2004

Today I feel really guilty. I had to give a group presentation in Cross Cultural Mental Health class, and my partner was really brave. Beyond not shaking and staring out into the audience with a blank mind like I did(I am scared of presenting in front of people- this is why I volunteered to go first, so I can make the points up), he also admitted to being a mental patient at one time, and spoke eloquently of his friend's death due to suicide(she had bipolar disorder), and the stigma of mental illness. I had the easier part- I could just talk about what I saw as an intern at the Memphis mental health institute, it was distant from me, and noone would think less of me because I had said that. But the amount of risk that guy took! I am amazed at it! I'm the type who gets creeped out because I ate unwashed apples.
You know, once a chemistry professor said that he believed in God, and while I felt that was unnecessary, I did not feel discriminated against(I'm agnostic, leaning on the side of "There's probably not a god). I guess I am using the liberal definition of 'discrimination'- just because not everyone agrees with me, that's not discrimination. I remember a conservative(?) that could come into a class run by people with different views, and not bitch and moan. He once read something that while not assigned, was on the list of topics. It was about black supremacy or something. Instead of whining and crying, he made his points, and the teacher of the week made hers. They ended up agreeing(Black supremacy is bad) and everyone had a much clearer view of the situation(one of the teacher's points was that some people were pissed off by the terrorism of the day(bombing churches,etc)

He managed to not bitch and moan just because people had different ideas. He made his points in an intelligent manner. I say, write your papers on whatever you want, just back it up with facts, and if there is some real grading discrimination(the fact that your paper was an unorganized spew with no facts will get you a C), complain.

I think the reason that liberalism is more common in college is because of the approach- things are usually assumed to be caused by something that we can investigate and learn about, rather than some inherent evil in what ever the thing less favored is. I prefer this way of thinking about the world because I do have a tendancy to intellectualism. I believe that the less we look into things, the less we can fix them, and that we should learn as much as we can.

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

PSA: Women, do not squat in public bathrooms. It causes pee on the seat. Use a paper toilet seat thing or toilet paper instead, and be sure to flush them. Thank you. Also, here are some scary toilet tips. Bush gets ganked (verbally) Also, just because you're Amish doesn't mean you're a saint. One man's story.

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

I'd like to remind everyone(especially the lefties, yes, I am partisan) to remember to vote! Please write to your congressman about how much you want the Patriot Act to not be renewed,too, if you're getting excited about this whole politics thing.
The idea of the other defining the self is pretty scary to me. While I desire company, I often avoid others, as the idea of being frozen in their eyes as some sort of horrid image frightens me. I worry that that last sentence didn't make any sense, so I'll explain. If while alone, I bump into a wall, I can rub the affected body part for a bit, and then forget about it. But, if I am in public and I bump, I can expect some rather rude reactions, from staring to sniggering, and if ever in the company of those people again, some might make rude comments.

And the event can not be forgotten either- as the reactions cause pain, so I remember the pain and the incident. I find that years later, I remember times when I was clumsy or said the wrong thing. Those memories come to me unbidden, and thus, the experience leaves a scar. So it is either avoid people and be lonely, or be with people and be hurt every time you're less than perfect. I find myself gravitating to very 'chill' people for this reason- the more forgiving people are, the more comfortable I feel. I also like weird people- they have less time to think about mean things to do to you, as they already have their own things to do. I guess that wandered pretty afar of the field. Oh well.
Thanks for making normal Christians look like asshats, dude. I mean, Christians have huge, sometimes multi million dollar churches and they can put as many monuments to the ten commandments, to Jesus,etc, up as they want. They don't have to pay taxes. In the South, I can't see how you could even complain about too little religion- you could go to church every night of the week if you felt like it. So why do you need to bother other people? I think not being an asshole is a good idea, even one of my core values, but you'll never see me sneak in in the middle of the night, and put a monument to not being an asshole on the court house lawn. Do these people think that just because it's religious, it's ok to break laws? Dang it.

Of course, the whole part about being like "we're the only ok religion" in the US isn't too cool for people of other religions. America is a very diverse country, we have many different religions. I also don't think one religion rule is too cool- at least a secular person has to give a good reason for their cockamamie ideas- in a theocracy, all you have to do is twist the words of a holy book out of context, and then say everyone doesn't love god if they don't follow along. It's a sure recipe for bad laws.

Monday, January 19, 2004

Some ways to improve yourself:

1) Read something intelligent on the toilet. Some tips- if advertisments are seeping into the editorial content, it's not intelligent. Also, if the magazine thinks that "Kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity" is intelligent discourse- it's not intelligent.

2)Walk around the block or take the stairs instead of the elevator- It's the first step to good health! Notice I didn't say 'weight loss' I said good health. There's a reason for that.

3)Devote at least ten minutes to cleaning each day- my room used to be a total disaster til I started doing this, and now, it's clean!

4)Have fun at least once a day- Fun is said to be good for you! Yea, this is edging into pop excess here, isn't it?

5)Try not to be a giant asshole. Tip your waitress, try to avoid making fun of people for no good reason, and actually do kind things for others.

Well, I'm stopping here, but remember, hard or something.
Strange conservative conspiracy theories- Why do people think I would believe their bizarre conspiracy theories? "Democrats secretly hate blacks because they support affirmative action!" Yea, that makes sense- at least playing lip service to the idea that blacks are not hysterical liars when they report disparities is real racist, let me tell you. The only problem is people(mostly on the right) who try to stir up race hate among whites, but it's not the fault of the program that people try to use existing laziness, pettiness and prejudice. What republicans need to do to get more positive press on the race issue is to actually try to dissociate themselves from racist groups and people and not use race hate to get votes. A few token blacks- admirable, but it's not getting my vote- if you fuck over the poor, guess who you fuck over more than anyone else? Black folk. (of course poor whites who apparently can't put two and two together about who is actually doing the screwing get screwed- hint: it's not that black doctor that's saving your ass!)

Sunday, January 18, 2004

An article to show anyone who thinks that hard work makes you rich. Also, here's a list of platitudes that make you sound like a fucking asshole- get some empathy or shut up. Here is an actual sensitive, serious look at bullying. A woman learns about white privilege. A review of a book debunking Afrocentricism. Just because we're black doesn't mean we don't have to be historically accurate. An oddly sensitive view of AA, discrimation,etc
"The once born James took to be native optimists who tended to see everyday life and religion on the surface: hopeful positive, well ordered, progressive. The twice born, in contrast, were more pessimistic. They tended to focus on the darker underside of experience. The twice born were absorbed by questions of social injustice and personal pain"- Arthur Kleinman(M.D) in The Illness Narratives, page 54.

This quote seemed like a very apt description of types to me.
More things I am shocked shocked that others don't know- words are defined in the context of society. Words are like money, they are symbols- we agree that green paper is a very valuable thing, we give the paper meaning. Words are not defined only by what is in the dictionary, they are also defined by the feeling that has built up around the word by much usage, and the symbolism that the word invokes in the mind. Society usually has a consensus on what words mean and connote, but it can be hard to change the meaning of words- there have been attempts to give bitch the connotation of a strong, in control woman, but the main meaning remains derogatory. The point of this was to say that words are vessels that we fill with social meaning, and that words have meaning only in a social context- we use them to communicate with others. That is why if your words are hurtful to another, that's a problem- you know what words are considered hurtful and you choose to communicate those sentiments to others. Remember- noone makes you be a jerk.

A mystery to me is language blindness- the lack of ability to understand that words have connotations(I don't know the real word). It's like being able to hear rhythm but not melody in music- you can never hear the whole of it.

Saturday, January 17, 2004

MLK was not a member of the KKK

With MLK Day approaching, I'd like to remind everyone that MLK was not a member of the KKK. Yea, many pointy hoods will try to take advantage of his great legacy to spread their virulent hate, by constantly thinking that "color blind" means "fuck blacks in the fucking ass". No, it doesn't. And I would kindly like to remind you that if King was that sort of sell out, he'd still be alive. Do you think some white racist would have killed him if he had smoothed down and let him wallow in his prejudice? If King had blurted lies- "Oh, massa white man, it is all our fault that you treat us so bad", he'd be alive and feted as one of those who makes money selling out our race- acting like we're just bad folks. There's no nation of millions that is composed uniformly of bad lazy folks, with only two or three special people who just happen to be better than the rest, and this is especially true as folks are born black- they don't choose it.

I know that this view comes from ignorance. People only remember one line from one speech, and try to make it stand for the entire man, the whole way he was, and it could never be like that. It makes it comfortable for conservative racists- they don't have to change anything, they don't have to feel obligated to pull up more than 12 percent of their compatriots, they don't have to think, they don't have to read.

I'm in a real Carl Sandburg mood. It's great to see someone writing a poem for justice instead of just wallowing in injustice. I wish I could have been at this protest, but I was in class- trying to fulfill what people had paid for in blood and tears. That's why I get so mad about this sort of thing- people died for this. People also died for us to be able to have decent wages, too, but that's another story. Anyway, you spit on their deaths by trying to make things go back to the way they were.
To avoid sprucing up my resume, I am blogging up a storm- the announcement of new Family Guy reminds me that I should buy the DVDs to make sure I have the whole. Oh, I never have enough money. Family Guy, Freaks and Geeks, Invader Zim..not to mention comics and anime!
Things I am shocked that people don't know: You can't stop time. Even if you feel that the era of your childhood was truly a golden past, you can never go back there. The world changes, and nothing can alter that. New ideas get born in the world. It may seem more secure to think you can stop change from occuring- but you never can, no matter how much you resist. Of course, I'm not discounting the power of whiners to ruin things for everyone. After the Civil War, black men could vote, and some even were able to go into Congress, however, due to whiners* who could not, and would not accept that the world was changing, Jim Crow laws were instituted, and for years, things were fucked up. Yes, whiners, you are like the old whiners we have always had- 'oh, the germans and irish can't be real americans! they won't assimilate!' you said in the past, now you say that about mexicans. In the Reconstruction era you tried to deny blacks political power, now you try to deny them education. I'm not saying that the thugs of this era aren't dangerous, and haven't done a lot of damage to our contry, but I am saying that we can take our country back, and don't have to bow down to these losers who want to piss on our country. Yea, I'm pissed, stop pissing on the country that all of us share.

*read the whole site- it's quite good!
I wish I could have been at this protest, but I had class instead. I hope people aren't stupid enough to think that not being able to force their churches' religion on folks in the guise of 'help' is discrimination, but I'm sure they do think that because they don't read. If you don't read, you can't get any useful information whatsoever- it's all going to be 30 second soundbites and oversimplification of the issues. PBS and NPR do try to educate people, but most TV news outlets don't. I'm not saying that all written sources are great, but they have more time to at least talk about the issue in more detail.

Also, free elections for Iraq would fit our stated goal, but not our real one, I guess. I hope there is not any more violence over this. Of course, I know you shouldn't kick over hornet's nests and such, but does Bush know that?

Friday, January 16, 2004

Also, my ass has been rocked! But I can't buy such costly things til I get a job. Hopefully delayed ass rocking is the sweetest.
This is my blog, and from time to time, there will be anecdotes. This is one of them. My school is an evil hellhole(but a rather pleasant evil hellhole- in my dreams, the inside of the school is represented as a gothic castle, but the outside is a park with outdoor restaurants) which makes everyone take a PE class once a year. I of course hate PE, so I chose "Movement Improvisation", which didn't sound too bad. I didn't mind the running around in 'curves' and trying to not run into people, although I note that I put my hands under my chin like a dork when about to collide, and ok, I did trip over my own feet once.

But the real fun came in when we had to close our eyes and try to walk around the room without bumping into anyone. To my credit, I didn't. What I bumped into was the wall. This reminds me of something that happened yesterday. This guy was like "Where is room 321?" and I say "Right down there!" and point. Right then I realize the guy is blind...

So, the upshot is that other people suck at stuff too, yea, that's it.
David Foster Wallace said in an interview in the Nov issue of the Believer that people should try to see both sides of the issue, and realize that more than one viewpoint is necessary to solve our problems*. So I will try to talk about this initiative from both sides of the aisle. The leftist viewpoint is pretty obvious- separation of church and state helps us remember that every American citizen is a first class citizen, and keeps out the in creep of theocracy, which has not worked so well in the Islamic world.

I am probably being inaccurate about the right side of the aisle- any righties are free to correct me. Why don't we fund the projects we have instead of shifting to new ones? Setting up a bureaucracy for this may cost more money than anticipated. Also, government funding can lead to government control- if schools have to teach to the test to get federal funding, what will churches do? A government encroachment on the church might not be the best idea.

Ok, I feel that was a noble attempt, but I like ranting better.

*This is a paraphrase.

Thursday, January 15, 2004

I'm trying to wait out the effects of this caffeine- never have a rum and caffeinated coke when you have class in the morning. Although, maybe this is just me and my caffeine sensitivity. Anyway, I am glad that Freaks and Geeks is coming to DVD at $69 MSRP, because some early indications were that it would cost a lot more. At $69, it would not be hard to get the whole series for $40. I know what I am getting as a pre summer vacation present to myself. I also urge people to support DVD releases of intelligent TV. I know that most people who want a good show might not regularly watch TV- I mean, if you're fed up with the crap, you're probably going to switch it off instead of regularly watching- I know I do. However, maybe the afterlife of TV shows as DVD products will encourage some innovation. Probably not- I am not an expert at anything, which everyone who reads this website should know.

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

I'm too scared to write my resume, so I'll talk about one of the things I am shocked that people don't know- Not Every Misfortune Comes From a Personal Weakness. Everyday, people get depressed, children are poor, and people are born in countries without adequate education. I understand the naive appeal of thinking that every misfortune comes from a personal weakness- it absolves you from feeling any responsibility to help, it keeps the status quo in place, and it makes the world a lot simpler place to be- why bother finding out the hows and whys of why things are the way they are, when you can call names, and go back to eating twinkies?

I'm not saying that some misfortune doesn't come from personal weakness, but to tell the truth, it all depends on your position in life. Noelle Bush has been charged with prescription fraud, and has been found with crack cocaine. She got a cushy little rehab placement, ten days in jail. Now let's see how much misfortune the average Tomika would have. Tomika doesn't have parents to pay her tons of cash, so she becomes a crack whore. The condom breaks, and she gets AIDs. Also, she doesn't have the luxury of taking her shit in rehab, she gets busted for whoring, and the cops find the crack on her. She gets 3 years(the average sentence in 1992 was 33 months for a drug offense, it seems), and at her time in prison, is bothered by the guards and doesn't learn any useful skills*. Of course, folks can get drugs in prison too, so it's not like she even gets clean.

The same amount of personal weakness leads to greatly different results. Tomika will get demonized by those who don't know anything, and Ms. Bush goes off scot free. Not to mention, many things happen by chance. I'm born in America, so I have more opportunity than those born in say, Bangedesh. Of course, there's much we can do to improve people's luck. For example, the people of Kenya didn't have as many chances before they started giving free primary schooling to the children because kids who couldn't pay school fees couldn't learn to read. But a whole lot of improving people's luck would involve turning away from the 'bad person' theory of misfortune, and seeking the causes.

*Read the entire report! Quite good.
Well, I do admit that there are some things that I get very shocked if people don't know, even if the knowledge isn't very common. I basically expect everyone my age and older to have a base of knowledge- although much of my knowledge was gained by reading books, magazines and websites outside of the classroom. I guess I think everyone has a basic desire to better themselves, and that if they feel that they don't need to better themselves, they'll at least be quiet when, to use an old phrase, grown folks are talking.

My pet peeve in this is anything about blacks. I'm sorry, but just because you talked to one black doesn't make you educated about all blacks. I'm black, I've read books about blacks, and I've talked to black people, yet I do not feel educated enough about black issues sometimes. Although, I have at least made a good faith effort to learn. Most people spouting racist crap know little besides MLK(that's why his corpse gets raped so much) and maybe about slavery if they are lucky. Yet, they think they are experts. Not knowing anything about basic basic things they need to know if they are going to be decent citizens and make informed choices, they think they know it all.* Sad.

*Note the assumption that blacks are full human beings and important to our country's future, to understand my viewpoint.

Also, it seems that both Shawn Fumo and Michael Blowhard linked my blog. I am super glad about that.

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

Yesterday, I got a new issue of Bitch. It was full of the usual goodness- musings on the social implications of SFW and NSFW, an interview with the voice actor for Peggy Hill noting that she had posed in a PETA ad, and an article talking about how lesbian kisses on the air may be both good and bad for lesbians.

On that note, I've never really seen too much of an emphasis on lesbians in Bitch. Yea, there's lesbians, it's a women's magazine, and not one whose primary objective is to sell you anti aging cream, you know? I guess that if there were a lot of lesbian coverage in Bitch I missed it since lesbianism really doesn't stand out for me. Some chick likes another chick? Well, that's not enough for me to forgo a good magazine, as some letter writers have suggested.

Bitch also admirably has some multicultural coverage across the issues, by which I mean coverage on black women in sci fi, interviews with one of the creators of Girlfriends, an interview with Peggy Hill's voice actor, an interview with Margret Cho, and in this issue, a long essay on why hip hop is considered political nowadays, and r&b, India.Aire nonewithstanding is not considered political.

It's good to see all different sorts of voices in a magazine- treating only one group as the one true whatever, and then seeing all other groups as invisible or not important enough to waste time on is pretty annoying. (Yes, there are even male voices in Bitch- the aforementioned SFW/NSFW article was created by a man). I'm not saying a magazine can't have focus, but so many magazines don't seem to think about their focus and mostly just end up putting out the advertiser's story.

On a slightly related note, I think I should check out Fierce more often- the first issue was pretty thin, but I hear it's gotten better.

Saturday, January 10, 2004

I know I am blogging up a storm this morning, but I am just so excited! (and my mood is abnormally high- just lay down and don't make any major decisions!) Anyway I am pretty excited about the Bandai repricings. This is especially exciting for people who have been holding off on getting Fancy Lala- for ten bucks each, it's especially worth getting this sweet little series now. I should redo my Lala club page. I haven't updated it for so long. Also, if you're a Lala fan, do join the fancy lala mailing list.

My interpretation of this is that they've gotten all the costs of licensing,etc, out of the way, and now can use these as loss leaders. I think Fancy Lala makes a rather good loss leader, too. For example, it's really good to show to little kids, to make them shut up, thus causing the creation of a new generation of anime fans.
I don't really mind furries, and don't get people complaining about them. Yea, some are really weird. But it's not like it's my god given duty to enforce conformity on people I don't know. They go, draw pictures of cat girls, maybe wear a cat tail or cat ears, and don't bother me. I know some of you are saying, 'but what about fur suits and yiffing!' That also doesn't bother me, just as long as it's in private. Some people in every little fandom will be extreme. I mean, I watch Japanese cartoons, and sometimes talk about them, but I am aware of people who draw really gross hentai and dress up in weird ways. Does this make me stop in the middle of Utena and run away screaming? No.

So I can see how a relatively normal furry can go, draw a few pictures, and maybe pretend to be a fox or something sometimes. I guess that even when I was a child, I had a rich internal life, so I can see people doing something in their imaginations, and not hurting anyone. I mean, modern life isn't so good for most of us- most folks are just cogs in a wheel, as the old cliche goes. So I can see someone trying to spice it up by pretending they are a fox. People cope with life in many ways- some go to religoin, some like to draw comics of little anthromorophic foxes. At least furries aren't trying to change laws so that us normal people can't live like we want to.

And just a note- I don't think stereotypes are based in reality- what I mean is the reality of how most of a group lives- many stereotypes start off from the most extreme of a group, the farthest from how the group lives their everyday lives and then they don't just stop there. They stretch and they grow. Someone's brother in law's best friend's aunt saw this member of the group and they were just awful. Anecdotes are spread and exaggerated in the telling. Maybe the news media gets into it, and writes a horribly distorted article or focuses constantly on only the crazies in the group.

On an aside, I hear ya Millie. Simpson really gets bullying right- the worst part is knowing that people value the perps more than you. To an adult, it might not matter, but if you're a kid, and all the adults see relentless torture of you as ok, and any retaliation as evil, that sends a message, and not a good one,
Into every life, some rain must fall, the saying goes. However, people think this means the rain falls evenly. Some people have a lot of sunshine and some a lot of rain. Chance and luck plays a part in this that most don't want to admit- none of my actions caused me to be born in America, where I could get an education and have tons of food. I was also born in the middle class. However, I also am shorter than my peers, soft spoken and just intelligent enough to know that there are problems, but not a super genius. Of course, the society I live in has also shaped the rain in my life. I tend to realize things that while uncomfortable are probably true.

For example, I realize that in this society, I am not really valued. I'm not extroverted, nor am I good at math(I mean in the way that lets you become a doctor, not in the math for math's sake way- I hear the latter have a hard time) , nor am I beautiful. Some people think that who I am makes me worth less(there really are people out there who aren't fond of blacks or don't like women) This of course goes against the grain.

I also realize that for me, the old trite sayings no longer really have any meaning. 'Do what you love' sounds great- but hasn't anyone noticed all the waiters who want to be actors or think they are writers? 'Try your best!' also rings hollow in a success based society. It sounds good, but who has your back when you fail? Certainly not the people saying that.

While this is better than starving to death, I certainly can't be happy about it just because others are miserable. I never did get people that somehow thing that just because others are dying horrible deaths of AIDS, I'm supposed to be happy. That actually just makes me sad. Of course, I recognize that if we didn't have a bunch of asshats thinking that 'if they just tried harder not to get AIDS, they wouldn't have it, so we shouldn't help them', that situation would actually get a lot better.

The problem is that if you let a bunch of trite crap blind you to reality, you tend to cause a lot of suffering. Of course, noone is going to be convinced of the importance of kindness to their fellow man, seeing problems realistically, so to get a real fix, and that lives aren't created equal by reading my blog, but maybe someone's on the borderline- already being pretty decent, and sees this and says 'hey, maybe she's right'. Probably not tho.

Friday, January 09, 2004

I'd love to be kind, patient, tolerant and fair, but I really have a hard time of it. Oh, I'd love to be oh, yes, conservatives! I see your point! But I have very little sympathy for conservatives in this case. I think it's because of pop conservatism and its heavy dose of white supremacy. Let me explain. I like to believe there is a special breed of conservative. They've looked at all the alternatives, read a few books, and taken a few courses, they've thought about what they learned, and came up with their view point.

These people usually tend to have good ideas, not too kooky. I don't mean those who pretty up the ideas of the other type in prettier words either. On the other hand, we have pop conservatives. They come off, spouting a bunch of stuff usually along these lines- my brother's friend's cousin's mother's sister didn't get a job, and a black person did, so that means whites are oppressed, or if we didn't have all this multicultural(their kid had to read 'Things Fall Apart' in English class) in schools, kids would be smarter, or the schools fell apart when they took Christ out of the schools(Christ is supposed to be in your hearts- if he's in your heart, not making every kid pray to Jesus in the morning won't take him out), or the poor should just get a job!

I have very little patience for this type. I know, kindness, tolerance,etc. But there seems to be a high amount of intolerance ingrained in this world view- like if the idea that if we teach all of American history, people are somehow shortchanged, has a sort of bad ring to it. How come the history of people of different skin colors should be omitted? Is it that they don't think it's 'important' enough? If Jesus is taught in all the schools, what does that tell the kids of other religions about theirs? And so, if the poor are just lazy, and of bad moral character, does that make the rich somehow better than them?

If I was a more mature, kind, saintly type, I'd reach right in my huge heart full of saintliness, and even though they trivitalize the nature of oppression by claiming they are oppressed when they are not, I'd be full of love. I'd say yes, conservative views should be represented more on campus! However, in the real world where I am really grumpy, I'm like I'm sure it's not the conservative that knows his stuff that is going to benefit from this- it's the crazy ass pop conservative. I think it's because of the ratio. It's like liberals- for every single liberal who is smart, and knows his stuff, there are 5 who think that we should hug all the animals or something. While having someone who thinks we should hug all the animals teaching a class doesn't bother me, because if the student disagrees, it can easily be dismissed. It's not part of the mainstream.

But white supremacy, the canonization of wealth, and religious bigotry are in the mainstream. Instead of teaching kids against the grain, we just help them become snug in their little Foxnews cocoon... No sir, I don't like it.

Another thing is that I think people talking about affrimative action have pissed in the pool for me on this issue. After seeing the readiness to scream, cry and whine every time they had to make some little concession in the culture wars, I am duly suspcious of this. Some professors may be asshats, but I think that many of these ancedotes may be a case of "yea, I did it at midnight after two beers, but I'm sure he just marked it down because I'm conservative.'. I think the readiness to call yourself a victim after you've just told real victims to shut up contributes to my lack of charatiabilty in this turn. I know, it's not fair to the kind gentle conservatives that actually have brains, but sometimes you have to wonder- why don't they say those other guys are nuts?Why don't they stand up, and say 'hey....chill out with the white supremacy?" I have no clue.
Once there was a writer. Unlike the writer of this little thing, she was a very hard working, non lazy writer- she was a semi-pro, had had several articles in small concerns, suchlike. Anyway, she actually sent out articles, and some were published, and she rejoiced. But some were rejected- there were various reasons for this- sometimes, the articles were not up to par, other times, the magazine did not have room for her article, there were times when the article just didn't fit within the style of the magazine, sometimes the editor's sister in law's article preempted this writer's article, sometimes, the editor was simply an illiterate Philistine or an article similar to this writer's article was already planned. However, this writer kept on writing.

But, there was a problem. Her friends were full of shit. Everytime she got rejected, they would go around talking about how she didn't try hard enough, or that she was simply a horrid writer, despite the fact that even if an article wasn't up to par, that did not make all her writing bad. Anyway, one day in a fit of pique,she said 'hey, help me edit if it's so bad' and then her friends ran away and were never seen again.

This is a little parable, and I'll leave most of it as an exercise for the reader- but this parable has to do with help, problems in life, and the importance of not being an asshat who is full of shit. Also, the thing about the editor's sister in law- I don't know if that really happens or not. It just sounded good. This article also influenced the writing of this parable.

Thursday, January 08, 2004

Go to the comments section of this post to read the context of this rant.

I'm sorry, but maybe some people need to grow the fuck up. Yes, new Know Nothings, I'm talking about you. Yes, there is going to be bitching and moaning by losers who use immigrants as scapegoats for the fact they are lazy. However, do we have to give into those people? Do we have to say "Yea, the country must stay white" to appease them? It would probably be simpler to give them one way tickets to Siberia(I'm sure there's no pesky non whites there) than to try to block immigration.

It's pretty inevitable- either people get in here legally(and can't underbid employers) or they'll come in drifting on trucks, they'll come in over the border, they'll come in hidden on ships. So are we going to deal with it like mature and responsible people, or are we going to appease the folks who can't understand that yes, there are people who are different? Our country, even through the worst days of the know nothings, never fell apart. So are we going to let similarly ignorant people hold us back now? People whined, and still whine when blacks got their full civil rights. Did we let that stop us? No, we said STFU to them. So maybe we have to attempt to deal with problems, and just ignore the hicks. Hicks always need to bitch about some other ethnic group. If they start whining, just say there's a nice warm hole in Siberia that needs to be dug.

An add on to this rant- dudes, it's the CEOs who are fucking you over, not the Indians and the Chinese. So when things get nasty- remember- who benefits from you hating other races? It surely isn't you- you can say all the nasty things you want, and stuff will stay the same. It's the people in power- you are distracted from doing something to help your situation by scapegoating other races.

Wednesday, January 07, 2004

I certainly don't see why this loser even sued. It is perfectly legal for me to say 'fuck you' but try saying it to my boss, and guess what? I'm on the unemployment line! I'm sorry, but he should be glad that they were this nice about it. I mean, they gave him time to think about it, and only fired him after the second or so offense. I mean, he totally was disrupting the work environment. It's certainly not a professional environment to have hate speech on the walls. Sure, you may think as many awful things about groups of people, but at your job, leave it at home, and just do the best job you can. I mean, how is HP going to mark itself as a tolerant company that everyone can work with and do well with if they allow morons to plaster their property with hate speech? I mean, I'm not a Christian, but many Christians seem to be able to say 'Hey, maybe God doesn't like it, but I don't need to bring it up at work'. Not to mention, wouldn't whatever God was going to do be so much more kickass than anything you were going to do? So leave the judging to God, and get on with it.
I do have a beef with people complaining about multiculturalism. I mean, what's the point of teaching history if you're going to omit half of it? There are different ethnicities in the states, there always were, and some people should just accept it. Not to mention, the implicit message of monoculturalism is 'you're only important enough to talk about if you're white'. Yea, that's a real helpful message in this age of increasing immigration, not to mention, it's not actually true. Skin color is just how much melanin you have in your skin, and has nothing to do with your human worth. And people get plenty of white history too- most of the multiculturism people whine about is stuff like black history month. Oh no, kids have to write a report on George Washington Carver, oh stop the presses, they are sooooo oppressed. Oh, no, someone recited a Langston Hughes poem- we're being taken over by the coloureds! So get over it, or move someplace that's all white. We won't miss you.

Tuesday, January 06, 2004

Rumble Girls is out now! Wooo! My ass is officially rocked for the first time this year. Blacks, we need to do more adopting of children in foster care. Do we want kids to just be shifted from family to family then to age out of the system and be on their own? Kids are a challenge, yes, but it's not like kids aren't always a challenge. It's a disgrace that kids can barely find a home. More about that Texas cyanide plot. Learn to vote, or be an asshat. Also, be somebody- or be somebody's fool.
I read Rich Dad/Poor Dad because my mom thought I should read it. It's ok, but not really the way I prefer to learn. I don't especially care about the history of taxes or the comparative 'guts' levels of rich and poor people. I want to have steps, and why they are a good idea, and no mumbo jumbo about 'feelings'- like how much self esteem you need to have to do this, or whatever. Like if he had said 'so, you put your money in bonds, til it builds up, and then you buy a little investment rental property'(this is probably not sound financial advice) I'd be like woah! and my life would be totally changed.

However, this is one of my peculiarities. As I grow older, and older, I start to desire things I can do to meet my goal, instead of just feeling good about myself, as that's empty without achievement. For example, I like to write, so I'll write and edit, and write queries, instead of writing "I'm a good writer" a hundred times a day, and sometimes acting like I'm a real writer because I keep a blog. So remember- if you want to save the earth, plant a tree- don't write a hundred times a day- 'I"m a warrior for the earth".

Monday, January 05, 2004

I have finally gotten the three Card Captor Sakura DVDs out of my house(well, soon, I need to get to the post office) People talked like it was the holy grail of anime, but it was at best an average show. Then again, good production values don't really excite me. It's nice that it's got shiny animation- so where's the meat? When I was younger, I did not mind repetitive shows, but now, I'm like get on with the plot. I've always cared if I could care about the characters, but CCS left me flat. Oh, yea, Sakura's cute? and Tomoyo like likes her? At this moment I was supposed to be giggling with fangirl glee. Not.

I guess the problem is while I'm a shoujo fan, I'm not really a fangirl. To me, a fangirl mostly enjoys the series so they can make up bad fanfic about supposed romantic attachments between characters. But I don't think of making Li/Yukito slash fanfic as an exciting and productive use of my time. I know, there's the beauty of fandom, the wonders of the imagination,etc,etc. But sometimes I wish they'd make up their own stories. I mean, if you can write well enough for it to be ok to publish even on a webpage, you don't need to lean on someone else's characters, and if you aren't good enough, what's the point of showing everyone anyway?

But back to the erstwhile subject, I think what I like in a story is tension. I want to see conflict, difficult, internally rooted conflict too. For example, Tsuwabuki in Utena is just a little kid, and just has a small part(I've only seen the first 26 episodes) but he has conflict. He adores and admires Nanami, but he knows not only does she have a really awful side- bullying Anthy, and using her followers and considering them nothing more than extensions of her own will, she doesn't truly see him as a man worthy of him. Now that's what I like to see.

Merely shoehorning romance into a children's story isn't that interesting. I actually wish they'd stop doing that. It's pretty dull, and slights the complexity of children's feelings- as if they were just mini adults. I also dislike the depiction of children as mini adults- children are not little perfect angels that are only around for the purpose of being 'cute' nor are they as mature as adults, try to put some realism in your depiction. Thank you. googl
ASSHOLES! Guess why you get yelled at? Ok, here's a real situation. This guy saw me reading my Sociology of Law textbook and was like "Theorectical perspectives" and he was like "Oh, look! bullshit views!" and then a few days later, not only does he make me wait hours and hours for a printer I needed, because on Sunday, he suddenly decided to be elsewhere, when days in advance I had called to ask about it, and then he decided to be like "Oh, when you get out in the real world, you really start to learn about life' While I'm aware that many people can't hear themselves, that is just unwarranted, when he had been warned before about a snide comment on cookies. And then he wonders why he has to deal with my rage. I try to explain(although I have difficulty controlling myself- it's very intense rage) that I had been abused that way my whole life, and that was why I was sick of it. He tries to whine and make excuses, which makes me even angrier- he has decided to attack me, and then tries to pretend it's ok? I used to do that whole game, but what did it make me? depressed! Unfortunately, the depression has lifted, to be replaced with the rage, and it's intense. While I do feel sorry for slapping him, I am not sorry for yelling.
More link potpourri! Here is a site where you can give livestock to people in the third world. Animals can be an important source of income and protein to the people, and also, they are renewable. I am reminded of an article about fish farming in Haiti. In the article a guy said that a common mistake was to give top of the line equipment that the locals did not know how to fix, and that giving equipment that could be easily fixed was more effective. I guess that's a good idea, but I don't know how these things are implemented.

Here's a essay on intellectual fashions and taboos. I'd like to note that respect for your fellow man never goes out of style. Here's a map of Africa with countries labeled. Africa is a continent, not a country, thank you. Also, I only find this webpage amusing due to the fact that I am extraordinarily juvenile.

Sunday, January 04, 2004

Anime Jump has an interesting article on How To Draw Manga- emphasizing that manga is not a monolithic style, and that there are better ways to learn to draw manga than slavishly buying every "how to draw manga' book that falls off the bandwagon. The funny part is that I have the second book that is an example of how not to create a how to draw manga book. I agree about the lack of drawing skill of the artist- it just seems to be a hackneyed attempt to jump on the bandwagon instead of a soulful attempt to illuminate others. (don't blame me- it was a gift)

I think that drawing comics can be great, and we do have a sort of doujinshi culture in the US- it's called web comics and of course, mini comics* . There are whole comics conventions devoted to the small press. Maybe it's not as big as Comike, but it's not like Americans haven't been drawing their own comics for years.

I really long to draw comics, but I can't draw. Back in the day, I used to draw a comic, but the website has disappeared in the mists of the web. Now all I have are the cruddy drawings. And believe me- they were shit. I often desire to draw, but the fact that I have no talent stops me. It's pretty depressing. Comics are a form of communication, and you can't really communicate if you can't draw. But I guess I should cheer up and do it anyway. They don't have to be shown to anyone.

*If you want to make mini comics, do read Pam Bliss' columns on Sequental Tart. They are splendidferous!
In yesterday's entry about Triple Play, I forgot to talk about the middle aged woman I saw pulling a CSI comic out of the back issues rack and saying "they have a comic book for CSI now?". I just thought that was interesting- seeing someone you wouldn't expect being exposed to comics culture.
I finished Rock My Soul. It was a pretty illuminating read, talking about the various problems that low self esteem supposedly causes for blacks. While I prefer more facts and figures, this book is primarily a book of ideas, not facts. I like hooks' contention that while racism is an important factor, it's not the only factor. I think an over focus on racism may take away from black's ability to fix problems. Not to say that racism doesn't really happen or that it's not really serious, but still, there's other work to be done. I disagree with the idea that just because black people socialize with blacks that those bonds are more affirming of their self esteem than those with whites. Many blacks also have all sorts of notions in their heads such as homophobia, self hate,etc , which can be as damaging to self esteem as a standoffish white companion. I'm not much for hooks' practice of quoting herself, but it's hard to write a lot of books(I have heard she has written 20 books) without repeating yourself.

Of course, there was not much in way of solutions- it mostly tries to show that self esteem goes deeper than we think- and that positive self esteem could go a long way towards fixing black America's problems. However, I'm curious about how you're supposed to talk to people who are compassionate witnesses and don't judge you for your feelings, and at the same time, you're not supposed to talk to people 'stuck in negativity' (i.e. people who have at least rudimentary contact with reality) Also, I would suggest that people do stuff that causes self esteem rather than just saying affirmations. Writing down all that crap isn't going to do anything if you don't do anything to be it. One act of kindness does more for my self esteem than writing "I am kind" a million times. So go out, volunteer, do something real. Of course if you're actually depressed, this probably won't help. Go to a therapist.

Speaking of that I like how hooks talks about the need for mental health services in the black community. So often we want to look like we're strong so much that we end up weakening ourselves by not having our issues taken care of. Sad,huh?

Saturday, January 03, 2004

So today, I went to Triple Play. I knew that it had changed location, (it's now a few stores down from where it was) but I did not expect that it would be any different. Well, I was wrong. The new location is much bigger. There is a bigger gaming area, and while I don't do that, people who like that sort of thing might enjoy it. There is now a children's section of comics when you get into the door- this is great for new blood. All floppie comics are now in plastic holders that are sqaure and open at the top. There are also now random arcade games. The graphic novel selection remains anemic, but they had plenty of copies of Johnny the Homocidal Maniac, which has to count for something. I was rather tempted, but thought I better not. They didn't have the new issue of Comics Journal, which I actually was in the store for.

For those who it matters to, Triple Play is across from the Wolfchase Mall, in the same sort of section Best Buy is in. This means nothing to those who don't know local geography, but it's not like you're going to drive from California. I think Triple Play is a chain, if it helps.
It's time for link potpourri! It seems like many of the more intense wars in Africa are calming down! Good news, as the big wars seem to retard the growth of efforts to reduce disease and poverty. This guy talks about urban planning in a really interesting manner. A girl starts thinking for herself, after years of new age trash. In an interesting study of the vagaries of racial politics, a man who thought he was African American finds he has no african blood, and starts to wonder about his idenity. And a girl gives tips on how to stop self injury. Oh, and this magazine seems pretty good. Not to mention, more sweat shop free clothing! That's it for link potpourri.

Friday, January 02, 2004

It's time for more Sequential Tart! Although this month they are missing Dear Kady Mae, which is my favorite, they have a really good article with editing tips, and a review of Hana Yori Dango under Read This Or Die! While I generally don't like Sequential Tart's reviews, they tend to be too short, too 'here's the plot, now whether I liked it or not', it's good that many people can hear about this great story. Of course, there are the usual interviews with creators, which is ST's strong point. While I liked last month's 'cover' art better, it was by Colleen Coover, whose art I have a real thing for. I think that some day I'll get Small Favors just for the art.

In other news, is this a comic? It has images, they are juxtaposed in a sequnential manner, but is there a narrative? But then again, what is narrative? Do we just assume anything put together has a narrative? I have no answers to those questions as I am not feeling particularly like a comics intellectual tonight.
Today, I went to the mall. I got bell hooks' Rock My World, and Blue Monday: Absolute Beginners. I also saw a little black boy reading a comic book to himself. He was very young and was sounding out the words, so cute! I also saw a much older boy reading a super hero graphic novel, and another teen boy buying a Dragon Ball Z graphic novel. The malls seem to be producing the next generation of comics lovers and maybe even comics creators, all without the help of the direct market. That little boy might not have been in Triple Play(the closet comics shop) but he had certainly been in the mall and discovered a new medium. For comics to survive, it needs new blood. I think comics lovers should be applauding the bookstores for making this possible. The books may be from Japan, but the love of the medium is the same.

Thursday, January 01, 2004

"Follow your dreams and the money will follow" "Think positive!" The problem with cute aphorisms is that they don't have to work. There's no reality test. Noone goes and studies people who follow their dreams versus people with an actual career path and sees who is the more successful. All people have are anecdotes, which can be mediated by twenty thousand different things- is your mom successful because she thought positive or because her dad owned half the town?

So people can just keep on believing, and that keeps things in place. If everything can be conquered with a little hard work and a positive attitude, why try to change things? Anyone who isn't super happy and successful is obviously there because they are bad people. So the people on top stay on top, and the rest of us stay miserable. It's pretty twisted, this simplistic view of the world. On the outside, it seems really pleasant and sweet- we can change everything with just our minds alone- we have all power. But somehow, it gets twisted- it becomes just a blame machine to beat yourself and others with.

If I think I have all power, how can I forgive myself for ever failing? For example, I am horrid at math. I work really hard at it, I get tutoring, but still I can't get anything above a C. So with that method of thinking, I'd be left with just cognitive dissonance- on one hand, I tried with all I had, on the other, I must not really be trying, because to try is to succeed, right? So I'd just get twisted up in my mind.

I know that most people who subscribe to this kind of thing don't think, but for anyone who even thinks on a casual basis, you'd end up tied up in knots. I can't even imagine what the more logic minded think. I mean people who actually use logic, not those who just use the trappings of it to sound cool, though.

I think I am so bothered by this because I am so optimistic. Sure, it's the optimsitic that says that we can solve problems in reality or that people can change their minds, but it's optimistic the same. However, it's more of the dark side- the side that realizes sometimes everything isn't all right, that some things can't be fixed so simply. But not all things dark are bad, and not all things light are good.