Showing posts from February, 2010

To Borrow A Leaf from Shakesville

Because Ottens continues to be a dipshit:

I feel compelled to tell you this:
I am not offended
I am contemptuous.
Contemptuous of the fact that you choose to dismiss the very real harm these attitudes propagate on very real people. Contemptuous that you think your entertainment is so much more important than the daily discrimination people who look like me face. Contemptuous of the fact that you think your intent to mean no disrespect actually matters in the face of the hurt you cause. Contemptuous that you insist on defending what we, members of the affected marginalized groups, have said, time and again, is a really harmful idea.
"Offended" isn't the word. Try "angry". Try "baffled". Try "unsurprised at racism". (And able-ism, hey ho!)
But most of all, contemptuous.
Cross-posted to Tip-Tapping

Gallimaufry Station: A Take on Multi-Culturalism

Note: I started this post back in November, so some of the ideas are kind of dated.

Lately, I've been considering what "multi-culturalism" means, whether it's in fiction or in everyday life. I find that whenever discussions of multiculturalism comes up, it's very much like talking about racism, in the "we shouldn't discriminate against each other on the basis of culture! We should be free to share what we have, no matter what!" sort of way that erases actual concerns about the concept.

It was only while reading Buck Godot, Zap Gun for Hire, by Phil Foglio that I started to put my finger on why I'm starting to really doubt whether it actually exists in real life, and why, in discussions about multiculturalism around people who aren't really knowledgeable about issues surrounding race and privilege, I always find myself uneasy, despite their good intentions. (Aside, you know, from believing that the road to Hell is paved with good intentions a…

Ally Issues: When in Danger

Part of anti-oppression work is speaking out against it when we see it. It means pointing it out, and calling it out for what it is. It means, as much as possible, stepping in and intervening if we are capable. It means coming up with ways to prevent oppression in the first place (which often entails an attitude-change on the scale of epic). 

And of course, part of the problem tends to be saviour tropes. Most of us involved in media analysis are aware of the "white saviour" complex. It's the kind of fantasy that gets played out very often - who doesn't want to be the hero that steps in to save the day? The hero does something remarkably brave, above and beyond what is asked of them, and is deeply respected for it as a result? 
I personally don't think this narrative is limited only to white people. In fact, I think many of us have these moments where we think of what we would do, or should have done, in certain situations, which would give us such pwnage points tha…

Turning Away From Religion: Of Shrines, Temples, and Paying Respects

Ordinarily, every year in celebration of the Lunar New Year, my family hies off to a temple to pray before carrying on with other festivities. This would mean a lot of standing around whilst one or two family members got joss sticks, lit them, and brought it back to the others who would usually be waiting outside the temple, so they could pray without actually venturing into the smokey air. 

My mother raised me on regular worship of the Goddess of Mercy, although this was usually framed as asking the goddess to bless us so we would get good grades in the school year. Her religiousity is the practical kind which only bugs the gods when she really needs something answered.

When I joined the school's Buddhist Association, my main religion was Theravadan Buddhism. I was pretty good at being Buddhist, it seemed: I attended the weekly meetings and never missed one except once or twice a year; I sang the hymns well; I memorized the chants. Every Wesak Day was spent at the temple, helping …

Quintessentially Chinese? / Review: Hua Mulan

I first talked about Hua Mulan here. Unfortunately, by the time I got home, Hua Mulan was off the screens (because movies have notoriously short running periods here), but the DVD was out! So I hunkered down with my father, a family friend, my mom, and I had a box of tissues in front of me, because I knew I was going to need some.

And I was right! I will try to cut down on spoilers as much as possible, and will reference the 1964 Shaw Brother's production of Lady General Hua Mulan for comparison purposes besides the Disney version.
As Mulan's story usually starts, there's a call for soldiers. The Hua family has no sons, and Mulan's father is ailing, but he feels that he has to go, because for generations, the Hua family has been known to be great fighters. Mulan herself is an excellent fighter, having been taught by her father, one of the greatest warriors of his generation, but as a woman, she isn't allowed to be part of the army. Nonetheless, she takes her father&#…

Happy Lunar New Year!

Today is the Lunar New Year. I apologize for the radio silence - I've been spending time with my family and friends, plus, I haven't had the energy to rant about stuff.

So, I want to wish everyone a happy Lunar New Year! Gong xi fa cai! Kong hey fatt choy! Keong hee wa sai! Kong hee wa sai! 
That's the same greeting in four Chinese dialects. Feel free to leave the way you wish others a Happy New year in comments!