Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Tuesday Reading

Always In Season
by Jacqueline Olive
Always in Season is the first documentary feature film to spotlight recent grassroots efforts for justice and reconciliation.  The film introduces viewers to relatives of the perpetrators and victims of lynchings in four communities grappling with how best to acknowledge the victims, repair the damage, and reconcile--all in the midst of pushback and heated national discourse about the value of black lives.
Read More at IndieGoGo

Some Striking Feature: Whiteness and Institutional Passing
by Sara Ahmed
In situations of proximity between those historically understood as “different races,” and let’s give that proximity its name, colonialism, difference becomes a defence: an assumption that we can always “tell the difference,” that race as such is a tellable difference.  The figure of the passing mixed-race individual thus became a site of anxiety, particularly in the United States in the early twentieth century. One of the famous texts to tell the story of what became known as the tragic mulatto whose passing as white prefigures her passing into death is Nella Larsen’s novella Passing, first published in 1929. In one scene, two light skinned African American women Irene and Clare are observing each other. They are seated at a table in a restaurant reserved for whites; they are both passing successfully, which means not only that neither of them realises that the other is passing but that they also do not realise they know each other; passing provides a cloak of anonymity.
Read More at Feminist Killjoys

Acting Up & Acting Out: The Wondrous Work of Kristina Wong
by Jenn Fang
Kristina Wong (@mskristinawong) has dedicated her life to holding up a mirror to Asian America’s politics, pride and foibles through her work as our community’s foremost contemporary performance artist. Wong has influenced generations of Asian American activists with the range of her work tackling such weighty issues as mental health (in her one-woman show “Wong Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest“) and celebrity obsession (in her ongoing performance piece wherein she appears at public events with hopes of marrying Jeremy Lin).
Read More at Reappropriate

But the Mystery, like the Melody, Still Lingers on . . .: on Roberta Flack
by I. Augustus Durham
Roberta Flack is, unequivocally, my mother’s favorite artist of all time. Although Maxine gave Roberta to me as her own, I learned of her genius via my own listening. Which is to say perhaps my mother loved Roberta because my mother believed herself to be like Roberta and, through my own maturation, now I equally understand that in this identity of twoness, via Farah Jasmine Griffin, if Roberta somehow was not free, in various and sundry ways, my mother was certainly the mystery.

I’ve been fascinated by the notion that a rape scene should be (or could be) necessary. “Episode six ending was brutal – but was it necessary?” is a common way of framing it; Vanity Fair declared that “Game of Thrones Absolutely Did Not Need to Go There with Sansa Stark,” while over at Slate, the argument is made that “this particular scene was necessary,” given the grim bargain Sansa Stark had struck. Most striking, to me, was Jill Pantozzi (the editor-in-chief of the The Mary Sue) explaining why The Mary Sue would no longer actively promote the show.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Friday Reading

by Nnedinma Jane Kalu
Uju watched her husband, Ikem, hunched over his laptop Facebooking and reading stupid tweets, activities he’d call ‘job hunting’ when Uju accused him of frittering away time. She sat on the couch in front of the TV with their son’s head resting on her lap. Ikem was at the dining table, his eyes were fixed to the computer screen and his eyeballs darted from side to side as he read. Uju wondered if he even knew she was in the room, he barely spoke to her or even looked at her. He had more fun giggling at his computer than he did talking to her. When she tried to make conversation, she got curt nods or silence in response. Uju spent more time with her son, Junior, instead and sometimes out of loneliness told him things a five-year old had no understanding of.
Read More at Jalada

Reagan Dawn Culture
by Werner Herzog's Bear
Over the past few weeks I've been finding myself obsessed with the period between 1979 to 1981, which I think of as "Reagan Dawn."  This was augmented by my recent reading of Split Season, a book about the 1981 baseball season and its attendant strike by Jeff Katz and today's rewatching of Wet Hot American Summer, which attempts to recreate the feel of the time.
Read More at Notes from the Ironbound

Inspiration and Secrets from the River Thames
by Nicola White
Mudlarks were poor Victorian children / street urchins, who searched and scavenged in the thick Thames mud for anything that may have been lost or dropped so they could make a few pennies. Today, a mudlark is somebody who searches for pieces of history in the Thames mud. As the Thames flows right through the heart of the bustling City, it is no surprise that (at low tide) there are treasures to be found...
Read More at Zusterchap

In the Footsteps of the Prophet
by Key Ballah
Why do we shame our soft boys and our quiet ones? 
The boys who stand with their mothers in kitchens instead of sitting with their fathers in front of the TV. 
The ones who are gentle with their love and their hands. The ones who don’t care to throw a ball, or play swords with sticks. The boys who prefer to read, or chat, or none of the above.
Read More at Love, Inshallah

US imperialism's Stamp is All over Chaos around the World
by Danny Haiphong
At the Left Forum, Fight Imperialism Stand Together (FIST) took part in a debate with other socialist organizations on the character anti-imperialist struggle must take in this period. This debate is central to the overall struggle for liberation in a period where imperialism’s destruction is more than evident throughout the planet. FIST remains firm in asserting that the primary role of revolutionaries in the US is to defend and fight for the self-determination of oppressed nations. Too often, what passes as the left in the US makes the grave mistake of siding with white supremacy by disregarding facts and parroting imperialism's racist war narratives. What is of primary importance, then, is for revolutionaries to expose the true character of war within the context of the chaos US imperialism is causing all over the globe.
Read More at Black Agenda Report

6 Reasons Lord Of The Rings Is Racist

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Thursday, June 11, 2015

Thursday Reading


World Soccer Corruption, Africa’s “Illicit Financial Flows” and Elite Silences
by Patrick Bond
The last week has provided extraordinary examples of how corruption erodes the resources and morals of an entire continent – Africa – in part because villains here in South Africa made alliances with wicked brothers in Switzerland, Latin America, the Caribbean and especially the United States. We now know more about offshore centers of both reactionary finance and corrupt-corporate soccer. It’s long overdue they are exposed to a spotlight, even if those pointing that light want to leave certain features in the shadows.
Read More at Black Agenda Report

The True Story of Lady Byron's Life
by Harriet Beecher Stowe
It is alleged that she parted from him in apparent affection and good-humor, wrote him a playful, confiding letter upon the way, but, after reaching her father's house, suddenly and without explanation announced to him that she would never see him again; that this sudden abandonment drew down upon him a perfect storm of scandalous stories, which his wife never contradicted; that she never in any way or shape stated what the exact reasons for her departure had been, and thus silently gave scope to all the malice of thousands of enemies. The sensitive victim was actually driven from England, his home broken up, and he doomed to be a lonely wanderer on foreign shores.
Read More at The Atlantic

America's Police Are Trained to Dominate the Public
by Chauncey de Vega
[H]ow do we factor in the individual temperament of a given cop relative to how they will respond to a given scenario?
Read More at ChaunceydeVega.com

Upholding Boundaries Feels Good
by Jeana Jorgensen
When I refer to this interaction as upholding a boundary, I mean that I have made a commitment to uphold this particular behavior or practice in all circumstances. It is extremely important to me that any sexual partners I have be able to give informed consent to being with me. This means I give them the relevant information to be able to make that decision, even if the conversation is uncomfortable. Different people have different ideas about what “relevant information” is, so I try to hold myself to a high ethical standard. Because this stuff is so relative, I err on the side of over-disclosing, or at least that’s my intention.
Read More at Sex Ed With Dr. Jeana

Sense8 and the Failure of Global Imagination
by Claire Light
How do you imagine a life you could never live? Though not really a theme, this problem is at the heart of Netflix’s new original series Sense8, created by the Wachowskis and J. Michael Straczynski, and heavily influenced by Tom Tykwer. Like many fantastical or science fictional premises, Sense8’s premise is a wish fulfillment: not — as is typical of this genre and the Wachowskis’ earlier work — the wish fulfillment of the disempowered middle school nerd stuffed into a locker, but rather the Mary Sue desire of a mature, white American writer/auteur who has discovered that an entire world is “out there,” one that the maker doesn’t know how to imagine.
Read More at TheNerdsOfColor.org

How to check the balance of your D20

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Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Tuesday Reading

Causing a Scene: Neoliberal Urbanism and Spatial Production in Post-Recession New York City
by Jacob Ertel
The role of the state with regard to gentrification has oscillated between minimal and significant involvement since the 1970s. Before the onset of the global economic recession in 1973, cities were largely disinvested, as suburbanization-not gentrification-constituted the primary state policy of the post-war period. This often took the form of development subsidies for highways and tax breaks for corporations that facilitated the movement of industrial jobs to cities' peripheries. The effect was 'white flight' out of the urban core. Subsidized white suburbanization had dire consequences for those left behind in the city, with little recourse to a diminishing number of jobs in the light manufacturing industry and an increased reliance on social services that would soon undergo cutbacks or privatization. What gentrification did occur from the 1960s to 1973 was sporadic and isolated to small towns in the northeast. Hackworth and Smith refer to this period as gentrification's first-wave, in which "local and national governments sought to counteract the private-market economic decline of central city neighborhoods." In other words, because most urban spaces were bereft of capital compared to their suburban counterparts, reinvestment could only occur in conjunction with some form of state-provided insurance, as investors and developers were more hesitant to commit to disinvested areas.
Read More at The Hampton Institute

WATSONIAN: The Curious Case Of The Bugfucking Of Rik Mayall
by Brigit McCone
Dear Reader: What You Are About To Read Is An Imaginative, In-Universe (Or WATSONIAN) Explanation Of The Bugfucking of Rik Mayall Which (And This Is The Whole Point) You Can Only Be 98 Percent Sure Isn’t Literally True (And Around 80 Percent Sure Is Metaphorically True, Being Grounded In Extremely Rigorous Analysis Of Gender In The Self-Authored Work Of Mr. Mayall). Next Week: A Rigorous DOYLIST Evaluation Of The Power Of Unacknowledged Imaginative Frameworks To Fundamentally Limit Our Ability To Form Social Justice Alliances (that is, after all, based on the personal life philosophy of one of the most profoundly and hilariously emotionally crippled chauvinists ever to battle like a goddamn champion against the socialization of little girls to abandon their anarchic self-assertion. Because feminists, queer rights movements and Rik “only Real Men (TM) have the balls to wear a dress, bitches!” Mayall are all wildly unaware of their own oppressive tendencies, but morbidly interested in the oppressive tendencies of others, and have a tendency to cluster into giant, gaslighting and supremely patronizing coalitions against little girls who really, really, really liked Drop Dead Fred – that is why I will be anarchically asserting the concept of “Bugfuck” as a humorously self-aware site of revolutionary mental resistance, that recognizes the philosophical perspective of “becoming aware of your own thundering irony” as a revolutionary act in and of itself (as Mr. Mayall himself proposed through the genius characterization of “Rik the Accidentally Authoritarian Anarchist Snot And Wildly, Wildly Unpopular People’s Poet” within his sitcomical social justice bible The Young Ones).
Read More at Bitch Flicks

Frag On!: Frag Dolls and the State of Female Gamer Safe Spaces
by Samantha Blackmon and Ashley Barry
Last week saw the disbanding of the Frag Dolls, a group of female professional gamers that was formed in 2004 to demo and promote Ubisoft games as well as to participate in professional competitions (they became the first all-female clan to win a pro circuit tournament–CPL–in 2006). The first team of seven women were originally recruited via Craigslist and were hand chosen by Ubisoft by what seem to have been Western, heteronormative standards of beauty as well as their gaming skills. The original personal profiles for the women on the Frag Dolls site included sexy cartoon drawings of the women as well as a series of posed beauty shots (but none of them actually gaming). The vital statistics portion of the profile even listed basic physical characteristics ahead of the things that the women themselves seemed to be most proud of, their game and media favorites. This characterization carried frag_doll_dollsover into some of the more staged press photos with the team being portrayed as rebellious “children” wreaking havoc around a pink doll house.
Read More at Not Your Mama's Gamer

#LoveSerenaHateRacism A Discourse On Western Attitudes Towards Serena Williams
by Ahmed Olayinka Sule

“I could not believe what came out of his mouth…he said some awful things… and as an African American I’m not going to stand for it” she said as she approached the umpire pointing in the direction of a middle aged man sitting at the stadium. She continued, “I was shocked. I couldn’t believe it. I had to do a double take. I think I hit a double-fault on that point.” After sitting down, she put the towel on her laps and spoke on, “He was harassing me throughout the match, and I should have said something sooner. He was saying things he shouldn’t have and it was totally unethical. It was derogatory.”
Read More at Media Diversified

#27 The Fever
by Reply All
So a couple years ago, I interviewed this girl. Her name is Suzanne. She lives in San Francisco and she’d met this really cute guy on OkCupid. And everyone knows that when it comes to online dating people can be really non-committal, unwilling to settle down. But this guy she met, let’s call him John, right from the beginning, John was really warm.
Hear More at Gimlet Media

HIGHLIGHTS: Germany v. Côte d'Ivoire - FIFA Women's World Cup 2015

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Monday, June 8, 2015

Monday Reading

[Sex Work Research Findings in Denmark]
by Guest Columnist Bo Jensen
Denmark has experienced an angry and confrontational debate on prostitution during the last 10 years.  According to several public opinion polls, 80% of Danes who have taken a position are supportive to sex workers and believe that prostitution is a job, but 20% believe that prostitution is a problem for society that must be reduced and criminalized in some way.  That minority managed to get the Swedish model introduced by the government, though it had essentially no chance of passing; the sex workers’ organization SiO mobilized the Danish population so effectively that the government was forced to take criminalization off the table in 2012.  But during that period, the scale and growth of prostitution was a central theme in the debate; prohibitionists claimed that sex work in Denmark was booming, and the rescue industry contributed fake numbers to “prove” it.
Read More at The Honest Courtesan

Why I Love to Love and Hate to Love West Indian Men
Every now and then, an article or two makes the rounds touting the pros of dating “a Caribbean man”, primarily for the elucidation of women outside of the region and our cultures. Sometimes, a few women and men friends of mine post these on Facebook with either an eye-roll, a pointed ‘no comment’ or as comment bait, but more often than not, they often go ignored by most of the folks I know personally. It’s almost like once you’ve been living with it all your life, like sunshine and warm oceans, it’s not that special — The Caribbean Man — and certainly not warranting all that list attention. Plus, we like to try to not feed the machine (cough, egos). Furthermore, not all of us may agree. According to a Trini sistren I know, “Trini man is de worst!” But unfortunately, guess who holds her heart right now? Yes, a Trini man. Cue the sound of sighs. Love dem too bad and hate to love dem.
Read More at Creative Commes

Rockstar Dinosaur Pirate Princess’s 9 super sex tips
by Rockstar Dinosaur Pirate Princess
Women are complex individuals, just like men are complex individuals. Women have as different desires, wishes, kinks, bugbears, irritations and dislikes from each other as men do. I get profoundly irritated by statements such as “women like X” or “it feels good when you touch a woman like Y on her Z” because you simply can’t make sweeping statements about all women based on what you think, or on what your experience of women in your life is, or if you’re a woman, on what you like.  While you may indeed find a large audience of women going “YES this is ME and THIS IS WHAT I WANT” there’s just as many other women going “er, no. This doesn’t speak for me at all. Please stop.”
Read More at Rockstar Dinosaur Pirate Princess

“I’s” versus “We’s”
by Jim Clingman
One conclusion I have drawn from working in the collective economic empowerment vineyard for years is that “We” fail because “I” gets in the way. Black folks adore the statement, “I am because we are, and because we are, therefore, I am.” Oh, that we would live by that statement rather than merely recite it. Frederick Douglass and other ancestors knew they were all in this thing together, and that no Black man or woman would rise without the rest of us rising. Have we come so far since his time that we no longer believe in the collective? Have we achieved so much and risen so high as individuals that we have lost sight of our brothers and sisters?
Read More at Blackonomics

Know Your History: A White Cop Threatening Lethal Force Against Black Kids at a Swimming Pool in McKinney, Texas is Nothing New
by Chauncey de Vega
Swimming pools have long been a site of white on black racial violence in both the South and the North. 
The Chicago "race riot" was caused when black kids swam on the "white" side of Lake Michigan. They were stoned to death by whites for that breach of racial etiquette.
Read More at ChaunceydeVega.com

Estelle B. Freedman: Redefining Rape

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Thursday, June 4, 2015

Thursday Reading

40 Reasons Our Jails and Prisons Are Full of Black and Poor People
by Bill Quigley
The US Department of Justice (DOJ) reports 2.2 million people are in our nation’s jails and prisons and another 4.5 million people are on probation or parole in the US, totaling 6.8 million people, one of every 35 adults.  We are far and away the world leader in putting our own people in jail.  Most of the people inside are poor and Black.  Here are 40 reasons why.
Read More at Black Agenda Report

Mad Max: Fury Road And The Great Feminism Debate
by Cate Young
After all the hoopla, debate, and thinkpieces, I finally saw Mad Max: Fury Road last night and it did not disappoint. The movie was a masterpiece of the senses and totally overwhelmed me with how engaging it was on all fronts. By about 15 minutes in I was at the edge of my seat whispering "this is amazing. This is AMAZING!" to myself. Basically, I loved it. I'm listening to the soundtrack as I type this.
Read More at Batty Mamzelle

These Actresses Are Not Asian Or Pacific Islanders
by Keith Chow
Depending on where you stake your claim on the internet, there has been a lot of chatter about a movie that tanked at the box office1 and another one that isn’t due in theaters for at least another year. The thing that links these seemingly disparate films is that both thought casting white women as characters who are written as Asian American and Pacific Islander was a good idea.
Read More at The Nerds of Color

You Can Be Loved: For Those of Us Who Live With Mental Illness
by Princess Harmony Rodriguez
It was like any other day in October when a wave of unsureness swept over me. As unsureness became depression and depression became paranoia, I began to send sad, frenzied messages to my best friend: I was afraid of losing her, of losing everyone I care about, of anything and everything that could go wrong.
Read More at Black Girl Dangerous

Fallout 4; Lets hear it for the whores.
It may not have escaped your notice that Bethesda released the trailer for Fallout 4 today, probably the worst kept secret since Paulie Cantelli’s chem addiction. As Dystopian throwbacks to the 1950s go, they dont come much better than Fallout 3, but it occupies quite a special place in my heart as it has (along with Fallout New Vegas) the most positive depiction of sex workers in any major game I have played. (I have to exclude Saints Row, since it went for the whole trafficking rescue fantasy).New Vegas even has a lecture about consent, and the fact paying for sexual services does not mean you can mistreat or abuse sex workers.
Read More at Sometimes, It's Just a Cigar

ackee & saltfish web series | ep 1 | "the lauryn hill tickets"

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Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Wednesday Reading

This Is What White Supremacy Looks Like In Black Middle-Class Communities
by Sydnee Thompson
When I was a kid, every time my family and I went into Detroit, there was a ritual we’d go through. We’d notice the gradual changes from suburban to urban: the cracked pavement, the weeds, the abandoned lots. I remember asking my mom why it was so easy to tell where one city stopped and the other one began, and why all the crumbling buildings were the ones Black people were living in.
Read More at Black Girl Dangerous

How Upset Should We Be About Rape Plot Lines on HBO?
By Katherine Murray
Let me start by saying that the title of this post is a little disingenuous – I’d never tell you how upset to be about the rape plot lines on HBO. You feel how you feel, and you get to make your own decisions about what you do and don’t watch. I do, however, find it interesting that rape’s showing up so often on TV, and I wonder whether that’s a good thing (because we’re finally talking about it) or a bad thing (because we’re slowly getting desensitized to it). I think it’s a little of both.
Read More at Bitch Flicks

Here’s One For The Lads (And The Lesbians)
by CN
In the olden days of about two years ago, whenever appreciation of a piece of media hinged on the fact that there’s sexualised women in it, it came with a neat little qualifier: “Here’s one for the lads.”
Read More at The Vagenda

Broken News: How To Save International Bureaus
by Ban Ibrahim
“The bureau is a beautiful old Kabul house with a beautiful green lawn. However, that old house is only for the foreign journalists,” says Ali M. Latifi, an Afghan-American journalist living in Kabul, about the New York Times bureau in the city. “They work and live there. The local staff work in a small little side house, traditionally used for the household servants, behind some trees and hidden from view. They literally segregate their local and foreign staff. I don’t think it gets any more obvious than that.”
Read More at Media Diversified

Semi-Nazi pickup artists blame Caitlyn Jenner’s Vanity Fair cover on “ruthless agents of Zion”
by David Futrelle
I doubt you would be terribly shocked if I told you that fans of the misogynistic not-quite-Nazi pickup guru Roosh Valizadeh aren’t exactly celebrating Caitlyn Jenner’s appearance on the cover of Vanity Fair. And they’re not: on the Roosh V forum, the regulars have filled a five-page-and-still-growing thread with predictably transphobic outbursts –“Kill it with fire” gifs, references to Jenner not as a “she” or even a “he” but an “it,” emphatic announcements of “would not bang.”
Read More at We Hunted the Mammoth

If Your Tiger Mom Were A Tiger Doctor

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Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Tuesday Reading

by Rebecca Cohen
I want to say, as a side note, that there’s nothing wrong with fantasies of violent rebellion against violent oppression. When you experience the frustration of being dehumanized and marginalized and discriminated against, you need catharsis. It’s exhilarating. It’s fun. It’s necessary. But, OK – maybe if we want to narrowly define what makes a “feminist film,” we can say it’s not, strictly speaking, feminist.

by Scarlett Harris
A few years ago I wrote a blog post about Taylor Swift’s anti-feminist lyrics. Perhaps ill advisedly, I used an example from my friend’s love life to illustrate my point about Swift’s detrimental view of gender roles in her music without my friend’s consent.

by Keir Clarke
The Sounds of Mumbai is a sound map of India's most populous city. Using the map you can listen to sound recordings captured throughout the city, including Chaupati Beach, the Gateway of India and Nariman Point. Each of the sound recordings is also accompanied by a photograph of the location.

by Keith Rice
For a few brief weeks, all was right with the world. Stephen King's It was barreling through pre-production. The adaptation was set for not one, but two feature films. Cary Fukunaga was seated firmly in the director's chair. Sure, there were some concerns about the casting of Will Poulter as Pennywise (and we certainly weighed in with our own casting ideas), but we were willing to roll with it. And Cary Fukunaga had certainly earned our trust after the first season of True Detective. But, alas, it was not to be.

by Heina Dadabhoy
In case you missed it: Science Careers, from the journal Science, decided to publish some advice from Dr. Alice S. Huang, former president of AAAS (the American Association for the Advancement of Science, whose tagline is “Advancing Science, Serving Society”) and someone who, according to her bio, advocates for women in science. The piece, titled Help! My adviser won’t stop looking down my shirt!, was swiftly taken down but lives on in Interneternity thanks to PDF screengrabs and the Wayback Machine. 
The tl;dr of the piece? “Suck it up, Buttercup.” The rest of it is some rather disturbing and gender-essentialist apologia for the sexual harassment of women in STEM.

One Word: Privilege - Episode 3

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